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Thompson adamant new challenge won't faze Jojo

3 minute read

Nothing is fazing emerging galloper Jojo Was A Man this winter so trainer John Thompson has every reason to be confident a few changes to Saturday’s Listed $160,000 ATC Foundation Winter Challenge (1500m) won’t bother him.

Trainer : JOHN P THOMPSON.
Trainer : JOHN P THOMPSON. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

The switch to Rosehill, a week's marking time, slightly different field make up – none of these things bother Thompson  who hopes to be making plans on Sunday to aim the gelding at the Group 2 $2m The Ingham (1600m) in December.

Jojo Was A Man has been a revelation notching three wins and an unlucky second from five starts this preparation.

"He's just a totally different horse this time in, just very genuine,'' Thompson said.

"He has a good draw, no weight, will go forward and make his own luck. A drying track suits.

"(The Ingham) is the long term plan, hopefully that works out. He's just got to make that step up to Listed grade on Saturday and hopefully he runs well and we'll stick to the plan."

It'd be easy to emphasise that Randwick has largely been the venue for the four-year-old's rise through the grades this campaign.

He posted back-to-back wins on his home track in June before narrowly going under at the hands of Taksu in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) three weeks ago.

Apprentice Reece Jones fired in a protest for alleged interference early in the straight, with Jojo Was A Man having to change course, but the fact he rallied to run the winner to a small margin is just testament to the gelding's attitude.

"He won at Canterbury first-up, he hadn't been there before, and he's only had one run at Rosehill and it was over 1800m,'' Thompson said.

"He's not an 1800m horse, I think he's a miler, and it was his last run of a preparation.

"I'm just happy with my horse, he hasn't missed a beat. Nash (Rawiller) galloped him for me on Tuesday and said he's just airborne."

While Jojo Was A Man, $3.80 with TAB on Thursday, was a warm favourite for the Winter Challenge when it was scheduled for Randwick a week ago he's been usurped for take two by another up and comer in Cross Talk.

The pair clashed at Randwick back on June 11 and Jojo Was A Man held a three-quarter length margin in a 1400m Benchmark 78 and meets Cross Talk horse 2kg worse.

Thompson has no doubt stablemate Bartoselli is a better horse on a dry track but says on the back of a close second at Rosehill two weeks ago he's more than capable of going one better in the Midway Handicap (1300m).

After a first-up heavy track failure, it was over a month between runs for Bartoselli when he was edged out by Noble Soldier with Thompson working out how to best encourage the horse to handle the ground.

"He trialled well on the bridle before he resumed and at Canterbury over 1100m we pressured him out of the gates to be on speed and he got off the bit,'' he said.

"He was off the bit the whole race and didn't travel at all and went terrible.

"At Rosehill up to 1200m I said to Reece 'I don't care where you are in the race just make sure you're on the bridle travelling and he will take you into the race'.

"He cuddled him, travelled well, and went super so up to 1300m should suit.

"There's no doubt he's better on dry, we wouldn't want a bottomless track, but up to 1300m they will go a little slower again and allow him to travel.

"That's the key, not getting him off the bridle and losing his confidence in the going."

Of Thompson's Rosehill quartet, which includes the enigmatic Mamaragan, three were due to run at Randwick last weekend but he says only one is disadvantaged by the abandonment of that meeting.

That's not to say he doesn't think Elusive Jewel can't perform well in the ATC Thank You Owners Handicap (1800m) coming back from Listed grade.

"The only one it has probably hindered is Elusive Jewel because last week she was in a Midway, which was the weakest race she'd been in for a good while, and was favourite,'' he said.

"This week she's had to go in a normal Benchmark 78."


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