Hobby trainer Justin Robins is still pinching himself and coming to terms with what’s happened in Kalgoorlie this season.
On the back of good management and good fortune, it’s dawning on Robins that he may have an above average horse on his hands.
Unheralded from Melbourne, Pedal Power was bought for next to nothing in an online sale, but he has Robins up and about bubbling with enthusiasm.
He’s dabbled in training horses with varying success before, but Pedal Power’s performances in Kalgoorlie has taken Robins to unexpected levels.
Robins took hold of Pedal Power with modest ambitions, but the son of Nicconi has looked the goods since first stepping out in March.
He’s never been out of the money in six starts for Robins, winning four races and placing twice to earn an unforeseen $81,840 in prizemoney.
Robins and Pedal Power commenced their journey together six months ago with little fuss or fanfare, but both trainer and horse have since generated a growing profile.
Robins said it was taking time to adapt to all the attention.
“A horse that cost $5000 should not be winning races in Kalgoorlie,” Robins said.
“You pinch yourself if you can win one race in a season, but to win four up against the big boys is something else.
“He’s only had the 10 starts, so what is he going to do with more experience?
“I don’t know how far he can go; but he could be untapped.”
That’s a question that was given serious consideration by racegoers after Pedal Power produced a stunning victory last-start.
In the aftermath of Let’s Galahvant’s thrilling Hannans Handicap (1400m) success, Pedal Power created a buzz a race later.
He unleashed a sizzling turn of foot from the second half of the field for Brad Rawiller and won racing away by 2 ¼ lengths, clocking a swift 32.97 seconds for the last 600m.
The brilliant sprint led Robins to contend with a new-found reality, aside from adjusting to Pedal Power’s rising popularity, he was now fielding calls from prospective buyers.
Sharing part ownership of Pedal Power with his partner and friend, Robins’ retort was unequivocal.
“After his last win someone rang me and offered $100,000,” Robins said.
“It’s a lot of money, but I didn’t get back to him.
“I live and breathe horses and I just couldn’t sell him.
“I want to look after him and find a good home after he finishes racing.
“I think he loves the one on one attention I give him. I think that’s important.
“He’s not for sale.”
Robins, an underground miner by profession, arrived in Kalgoorlie six years ago exploring employment opportunities.
With his racing and training knowledge influenced by stints in South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, he was coaxed back into the game.
Robins now shoulders the responsibility of being the public face of Pedal Power, but says it’s not a one man show.
He credits Kalgoorlie Cup-winning trainer John Lugg and current trainer and track work rider Brett Dury as mentors he can lean on.
But without the input from a long-time Kalgoorlie-Boulder Race Club identity and starter, Robins may not be on the path that he’s travelling now.
“It was Neville Sly who encouraged me to renew my trainer’s license again,” Robins said
“He kept pushing and pushing and suggested I get back into it.
“He was also the one that said to put Brad Rawiller on the horse.
“He thought Brad would suit him.”
Sly’s advice has been astute as Rawiller is unbeaten on Pedal Power, two wins from as many rides.
The multiple Group 1 winning jockey’s feedback has helped Robins plan Pedal Power’s next target.
“Brad’s (Rawiller) been very keen on him since the first time,” Robins said.
“He thinks he can stretch out to a mile.
“When he pulled up on him the other day he said he wanted to go again.
“I will probably go to a 1400m graduation at Ascot in a couple of weeks.
“I haven’t been to Ascot before and it’s going to be a big step.”