Clarke Bloodstock purchase Jack Regan continued his rich vein of form and demonstrated he is a stayer with significant potential with another dominant win at Sandown on Monday. It was a performance that reinforced the opportunities that exist for Australian buyers to acquire well-credentialed, lightly raced staying prospects from Europe.
The British bred five-year-old was recording back to back victories over 2,400m and is now ready for a return to Saturday grade with possible targets at Flemington in the coming weeks.
Jack Regan was selected by Jim Clarke on behalf of clients Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young at the 2018 Tattersalls Horses in Training sale in the UK.
“Jack Regan had a very appealing profile for Australian racing at the time of the sale,” Clarke said. “He was relatively lightly raced, had a liking for good ground and his form suggested that he was open to further improvement. His official UK rating and race record meant that he could start off at metropolitan class in Melbourne with a competitive weight and hopefully progress through the grades and earn prizemoney along the way.”
Jack Regan settled towards the rear of the field in the early stages of the race but at the turn into the straight he showed an impressive turn of foot for leading apprentice Thomas Stockdale and put a gap on his rivals to win by a margin of over 3 lengths.
Trainer Trent Busuttin was impressed with the win and suggested the horse was ready to progress to stronger races with a likely step up in distance on the agenda for his next start.
“It is amazing what a bit of confidence can do when they get their nose in front," Busuttin told broadcaster Racing.com. "That's what we bought him for a couple of years ago. He obviously likes to get over a bit of ground so we will step him up and see how he goes in a Saturday race."
A step up in trip should not be a problem for the gelded son of Rock Of Gibraltar who has won at distances up to 3,300m and even has a win in a hurdle race on his CV.
There is strong competition for proven horses from Europe but they continue to make their presence felt in Australia’s feature long-distance races. Some 22% of stakes races over 1700m and further last racing season were won by horses bred in Europe and Clarke is hopeful that Jack Regan can join that list of stakes winners.
“His biggest asset is his stamina, which will open up a lot of options for him later in the year. I hope he can develop into a Cups horse and whether that is in Melbourne or on the country cups circuit depends on how much he can continue to improve.”
Clarke regularly attends sales in Europe and is always on the lookout for suitable prospects in the private market to target the lucrative prizemoney on offer for staying races in Australia
"I am fortunate that I was able to meet a lot of people and expand my network when I was living and working in the UK," Clarke said. "I rely on those relationships every day and it is a big help to have an understanding of the international racing program and the form."
Another European purchase for Clarke Bloodstock is the former Irish galloper, Night Of Power. After winning at Canterbury in Sydney at his second Australian start, he has recently returned to training with the Bjorn Baker stable.