A four-year-old making his debut in a maiden at Bunbury would not normally generate enthusiasm, but for trainer Jason Pateman there is a tinge of excitement.
Pateman has high hopes that after a slow build up his patience will be rewarded when Just A Fluke tackles the Shine Hair Design Maiden (1116m) on Thursday.
Pateman identified early in Just A Fluke’s education that he was a horse with budding talent, but injury has delayed the gelding’s introduction to racing.
But if the Keysbrook-based Pateman hoped for a low key approach first-up he was misguided, particularly after Just A Fluke’s hit outs at Lark Hill.
He won his first trial (950m) impressively enough, but it was his follow up run over the same distance a week later that sparked big interest.
Showing speed for jockey, Alan Kennedy, Just A Fluke led and won by 7 ¼ lengths, clocking 55.67sec., the second fastest 950m trial of the day.
“I didn’t expect him to do too much, but Alan said he had more to give and was a Saturday class horse,” Pateman said.
“He has had to overcome a number of injury issues and has gone shin sore a few times, but I have a lot of time for him.
“He has been a work in progress for about 12 to 18 months, but you learn to be pretty patient in this game.
“It’s been frustrating, but hopefully fingers crossed it all goes well and to plan because I’m pretty excited.”
Pateman rates Stellar Ignition, a member of the powerful Simon Miller stable, as the hardest to beat.
The Planet Five gelding, on debut, is certain to attract the attention of punters after winning three of his four warm up trials.
Stellar Ignition has drawn barrier nine for jockey, Peter Knuckey. Pat Carbery and Just A Fluke will combine from barrier eight.
Meanwhile Pateman is confident stable flagbearer, Showy Chloe, can keep her Group One ambitions alive in the Group R.J.Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot on Saturday.
The Alfred Nobel mare needs a victory to ensure she is not balloted from the $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 19.
“She has a big win in her and deserves a slice of luck,” Pateman said.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli