Garry Edwards has been in the harness racing game for roughly 40 years but there's still moments in the sport that surprise him.
One of those came a week ago when Jayjaybenny started as a $101 chance in the TAB App New Years Prelude (2120m) at Dubbo Paceway.
Justifying his faith, trainer-driver Edwards combined with the five-year-old gelding to score a tough victory and the pair will look to follow that performance in Friday night's New Years Series Final (2120m).
Last week's win made it back-to-back victories for Jayjaybenny after he also won the Colleen O'Neill Memorial at the Dubbo track on Boxing Day.
"I'm not sure if he's a slow learner. He's always shown a bit of ability but he hasn't put it all together," Edwards said.
"On Boxing night it was a really good win, he put it together, and then I couldn't understand his price last week.
"Everything worked out though. I got across from (gate) six early on and it worked out for him but he did go well, there's no doubt about that."
The majority of horses he'll meet in the final were also part of last week's prelude but Jayjaybenny remained a $15 chance on Thursday. Mat Rue's Mighty Atom, which ran third behind Jayjaybenny last week, was a $2.50 favourite early on while the Josh Turnbull-trained Jilliby Gilmore and Stan Townsend's Clowns To The Left, who weren't part of the prelude, were at $3.25 and $8 respectively.
Edwards said Jayjaybenny had recovered well from the win and "couldn't be better" heading into his second race in a week.
"I let them out in the paddock each afternoon and he races around and enjoys himself," Edwards said, before saying he was a chance in the final.
"He'd have to be. It's the same horses except for two, Townsend's won another race at Dubbo last Friday, so it's going to be hard enough but I think they'll know he's there.
"The main thing is whether I drive him well or not."
A Village Jolt gelding which went without a win in his first nine starts, Jayjaybenny isn't Edwards' only hope on Friday. He'll also contest the Western Plains Granite Pace (2120m), with Eagle Art.
Eagle Art also won last Friday night in what was another memorable meeting for Edwards.
The win was Eagle Art's first in 16 career starts but her trainer-driver has been impressed in recent times.
"She raced really well last week but she's a temperamental thing," he said.
"She's always shown ability. She ran second her first start but then she cut her leg and a couple other things and it hasn't been smooth sailing but when she goes, she goes well.
"If you can catch her at the right moment she'll go well I think she'll go good."
Jayjaybenny and Eagle Art are the only two horses Edwards has in work these days but there are a couple of younger hopes he bred himself coming through.
"We'll try them and then we'll probably retire," he said, having won at tracks like Harold Park in his early days.
"I won my first race in 1983 and started in the early 80s but we've had a lot of fun. It's been a lot of hard work but it's a lot of fun.
"You meet nice people and enjoy yourself and the good track in Dubbo is good to race on. I'd like to race here every week."
Racing starts at 6.24pm on Friday.
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