Leading Queensland driver Shane Graham is still shaking his head in disbelief. And for a number of reasons too.
Graham steered Heza Prince to victory in last week's Group 3 $45,000 Gurney Group of Companies 4YO Championship defeating Caesars Folly and Astronaut.
The Life Sign gelding entered the feature event coming off a 12 week lay-off but a brilliant early move by Graham enabled the improved pacer to shoot to victory via the sprint lane.
“Being on the fresh side, I had to drive him in a fairly defensive manner but we got some luck and a strong tempo really helped our chances. He beat a quality horse in Caesars Folly and his splits were good.” Graham said.
Since being transferred to the stables of Graham's fiance, Vicki Rasmussen earlier this season, Heza Prince has quickly established himself as the state's most improved pacer.
During his 10 starts under the Rasmussen/Graham banner, Heza Prince has won six while running second in the other four starts.
“No doubt, he's gone above and beyond and he's still on the improve which augers well for his future. He's been a great addition to the stable.
We initially thought he would be a horse that would get through his grades but he's destined for open company. He's always been a nice horse but his improvement has been fantastic.
He hasn't been over raced during his career to date and he's still maturing both physically and mentally. I really like him.”
Heza Prince will face his moment of truth this weekend when he tackles the Group 3 $45,000 Knudsen's Betta Home Living 4 & 5YO Championship at Albion Park.
The opposition runs a lot deeper in comparison to last week with Team McCarthy lining up three potential Grand Circuit stars in Franco Jamar, Terrorway and Mach Wiper but Graham is optimistic about his chances.
“We were unsure about starting him this week, the fact he was on the quick back-up after his long lay off and knowing that the opposition would be a lot heavier but he came through last week's race so well.
He's really pleased us during the week. We got a lucky break with the draw and that really helps our cause so hopefully we can throw a tow rope out on those McCarthy runners.
Obviously the McCarthy runners are the hardest to beat but this will give us a guide for his future. He won't be far away from the action.”
Heza Prince is raced by Terry and Roseline Cluse from South Australia.
RACING Qld web news by Chris Barsby
Photo by Ross Stevenson