In mid-2016 Cecil Hodgson was preparing two promising racehorses in A Martin Placepick and A Magic Zariz.
The pair passed early barrier practice with flying colours and the future looks bright.
That makes it hard to believe on the day A Martin Placepick finally made his debut his stablemate was winning the Narromine Cup after already contesting the 2017 Country Championships and making it to open company.
The lightly-raced-six-year has endured a horror run but Hodgson’s patience and tireless work has been rewarded as A Martin Placepick stands as the favourite for Sunday’s $150,000 Western Racing Association Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Dubbo Turf Club.
“The owners were wondering what I was doing with him but time fixes a lot of things,” Hodgson told Racing NSW of the early issues.
Eventually A Martin Placepick got to race but the dramas didn’t end there as many other niggling injuries hampered the progeny of Martin Place and Miss Ginger Nut.
“When he came out of the paddock last year he had a crook eye and that took months to get right,’’ Coonamble-based Hodgson said.
“When he won that race at Narromine in August he injured the pastern in his back leg.’’
But he’s found top form and after finishing last preparation with three successive wins he returned with a strong second-placed finish in the Gilgandra Town Plate before lugging 61kg to victory at Parkes last week in a performance which cemented his status as favourite for Sunday.
“He’s like a greyhound, there’s no fat on him, and he’s a big horse and I thought Parkes might flatten him,” Hodgson said.
“Parkes is a good three and a half hours from here and it was a hot day, it’s surprised me how well he pulled up because he was underdone.’’
A Martin Placepick, as a Class 5 horse, carries top weight of 59kg in the Dubbo Qualifier. He’ll be conceding 3kg or more to the entire field.
Hodgson isn’t one to get confident or make grand statements. He conceded his horse has the form on the board and the talent to win but beyond Sunday lies a greater challenge.
“I think he would want to win pretty easily at Dubbo. It’s a different class of horse when you get to Sydney,’’ he said.
“He’s nothing flash, he’s a rough going horse and always has been. Now he has settled down, he’ll run you good times on the track if you want.
“I haven’t had many horses that can run the times he’ll run.’’
Sunday’s qualifier jumps at 4.30pm.