Perth trainer Jayne Busslinger is breathing a little easier. Her favourite horse, Doutable, has rediscovered his zest for racing once again.
Combined with an interstate jockey, Paul Marks, a Country Cup victory and a change in riding tactics, the veteran eight-year-old is back on track.
It’s a huge relief to Busslinger who had cause to question her decision to bring the Redoubtable gelding out of retirement last year.
The stable flag bearer was enjoying life in the paddock until Busslinger had a change of heart and opted to tackle the Broome season.
That judgement looked decidedly shaky when Doutable was soundly beaten in his first three Broome starts, losing by a combined 36 lengths.
The veteran galloper appeared completely unsuited to the red dirt and had no impact in his races, finishing well back in his races.
But Busslinger’s unwavering support in Doutable was rewarded. The catalyst and turnaround in form came about in the Derby Cup (1800m).
Doutable won the race narrowly, but it was his back-up win in Broome that confirmed to Busslinger that he was back on the right path.
After settling closer to the leaders by Paul Marks, the rising nine-year-old ran on strongly to defeat Masahiko by a dominant three lengths.
“He has found a new lease of life and is back to his old self again,” Busslinger said.
“I think going forward and being close to the leaders has been the key to his turnaround.
“He just got too far back in his earlier races when he ran poorly and you can do that in Broome.
“He was too far back in the field and being an older horse he doesn’t like to sprint anymore.
“You have to been near the front and he seems to have formed a good relationship with Paul.
“He is over from Mount Gambier in South Australia and I’m very pleased with how he is going.”
Busslinger is confident Doutable’s rejuvenated form is the ideal platform to target the Broome Cup (2200m) on August 13.
She says the build-up begins in earnest on Friday when Doutable takes on the inaugural running of the Max Simmonds Memorial Handicap (1800m).
“He is showing me all the right signs,” Busslinger said.
“He has come through his last run well.
“I love country racing and would love to win the Broome Cup.
“It’s first time I have been back in nearly 25 years.
“The track is wonderful and not too hard or soft.
“He will have this race and then the Kimberley Cup before the Broome Cup.
“He is showing no signs of slowing down or feeling his age.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli