Jolly’s belief in fully-fit Behemoth
IN 2019, Todd Pannell was the nemesis and today he’s the man in the hot seat as Behemoth chases Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) redemption for connections.
It was the tale of two very different stories last year.
Pannell landed his maiden Group 1 success aboard Despatch, while bargain buy Behemoth was the unlucky runner when he was held-up deep into the home straight before flashing home to be narrowly beaten.
Fast forward a year and trainer David Jolly is confident that his horse is in even better shape.
He’s had just one run in the lead-up, closing smartly in his second-placing behind Jungle Edge in the DC McKay Stakes over 1100m
“This year he’s just a much different horse,” said Jolly, who produced Zip Zip Array to win the 2002 Goodwood.
“He had some niggles last year during that campaign and this time around he’s in good shape.
“I think you can be confident in your own horse, but you don’t really know how well everyone else is going.
“Having had horses in this race before, I think it’s an advantage to have a fresh horse peaking at the right time.”
Last year’s Goodwood launched a successful Sydney campaign.
Despite niggling foot issues, the horse produced a massive run to narrowly miss a place behind Kolding in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle, a campaign that has been the making of the giant chestnut.
“Sydney certainly turned him around, it really changed the horse’s attitude,” Jolly said.
“He’d live a pretty protected life down here at Goolwa before that, he was a bit cantankerous, but he’s matured up and everything seems much easier to him now.
“He’s much easier to deal with and he’s got a lot ahead of him.”
Originally sold for $120,000 as a weanling, Team Grand picked the horse up for $6000 after failing as a pinhooking – ready to race – option
“We picked him up for a song,” Team Grand’s Sam Lyons said.
“He was a big gross individual. He didn’t, and still doesn’t, have the prettiest head on him, but John Price certainly saw something in him.”
Lyons said Behemoth is a glowing example of what his Grand syndicates do, and that is try and find affordable horses that can offer owners plenty of fun.
“We knocked back some very, very significant offers early in his career, he’s already managed to put $730,000 in the bank – you could argue this prep is the first time he’s going to be at the peak of his powers,” Lyons said.
“Our company is basically built on the fact we don’t think you need to spend a fortune to have fun at the races.
“We try to find the horses who slip through the other sales. We’re trying to offer a lower price point for people to get involved. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a bit of fun.”
And Lyons is confident the big boy can deliver on the big stage.
“He can absolutely win, there is no question about it,” Lyons said.
“I love everything about the barrier draw.
“It’s a ripper race compared to last year, there is no question it’s a better race, but there is no question we take in a better horse, he’s been targeted at this.
“He’s a big winning chance.”