Rebel Rover having to be fished from the sea in Brisbane
PICTURE: Facebook: VMR Brisbane Inc
THE possibility of a wet track will hold no fears for Rebel Rover, the horse who had to be rescued at sea after he unshipped his jockey on a Brisbane beach, as he tackles his first race since his adventure made headlines worldwide.
The five-year-old is reunited with Jackson Morris, the jockey he despatched on the shore before swimming two kilometres out into Moreton Bay, for a sprint handicap at Doomben in Queensland on Wednesday that he has a solid chance of winning, according to trainer Brad Smith.
Rebel Rover might not have been alive at all had Brisbane’s water police and a marine rescue unit not managed to lasso him and tow him back to shallow waters after he had spent two hours swimming off Sandgate beach. He was estimated to have covered a total distance of 11 kilometres.
“Another ten minutes and it was a tragic story probably,” Smith told the Racing Post on Monday. “Obviously it was a significant event, but the horse took very little harm from it. If he had we wouldn’t have kept going with his work. We’d have given him a break pretty much straight away.”
Smith said the unpredictable Rebel Rover has recovered well from the escapade in late February, during which he also headbutted one of the trainer’s stable staff, knocking him unconscious, but he has not returned to the beach.
“If he dropped another rider, who knows what damage he could do?” he added. “I wouldn’t be that confident of getting him back like that again. We’re best off staying away from the beach.
“He’s a very difficult horse to handle but he’s been doing everything right since. The incident happened on a Thursday and he was back at the track working the following Monday. I’d expect if he races up to his track work he’d be very hard to beat in a race like this.
“It would be great if he could win. I’d be very happy for the people who work with him because he’s a bit of a 24/7-type case. It would be a testament to their skills and abilities. I just put the polish on him.”
Smith added: “The jockey who was with him that day is riding him again, so it would certainly be a big deal for him.
“The groom is fine too. He just got a room for a night and a free meal in hospital. He was back at work a couple of days later. For him, it was a case of being the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
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