Laundy is gunning for two straight victories at The Valley tomorrow night

Laundy lauded for continual improvement

By Ben Caluzzi

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained Laundy last fortnight landed his fourth career success in the Front Runner Membership Handicap at The Valley and he’s back this Friday night to plunder more riches under lights.

Given a brilliant steer by leading apprentice Josh Richards, the New Zealand-bred son of Redwood was too strong over the concluding stages of 1600m and held off a game Chase On The Case to score by three quarters of a length.

Busuttin & Young were given the horse by leading Australian identity and leviathan owner Gerry Harvey early last year, whose relationship with the Westbury Stud owner blossomed with race success of other Redwood progeny Redwood Rising and Rising Red, with the latter placed second in the 2017 New Zealand Derby.

Still learning his craft and quirky in his work, Natalie Young said during the week that it is not uncommon for the Redwood breed to have their fair share of idiosyncrasies, but with a strong second placing first-up followed by a terrific win at The Valley – the penny may have finally dropped for Laundy.

“As a rule, I think these Redwoods do have that quirky nature,” Young said.

“This guy is a big strong horse and loves his work. He’s easy to manage and he has a great temperament on the ground, he just gets a bit keen and fierce in his trackwork.

“But each prep he comes in he gets a little better and better.”

Originally from New Zealand, Busuttin and Young have a distinct number of New Zealand-bred horses in their stable. The partners turned training powerhouse have found a strong liking to buying yearlings from across the ditch, and in particular have triumphed the most with their staying types.

“We’re from New Zealand and we know a lot of the family and have trained a lot of those families prior.

“Tavistock, Savabeel, Ocean Park and Reliable Man have done very well here in Australia in those staying races.

“We generally buy 20-30 horses out of New Zealand each year. It’s a formula we’ll keep going with because we’ve had a lot of success with them, and we find them easy to syndicate with our client base.”

Although Laundy’s client base consists of just one in Gerry Harvey, he too falls in the above bracket, and now with two starts under his belt this preparation he looks set to peak third -up. The five-year-old will tackle 2000 metres for the fifth time of his career on Friday night – a trip he has handled with a minimum of fuss having won once already with a further second placing which came at The Valley exactly a year ago.

Stepping up 440 metres and rising from Benchmark 64 level to Benchmark 70 grade he will have to be at his best to be saluting, but Josh Richards has been booked for the ride again and will take 3 kilograms off his allocated 60.5kg to carry a much more manageable 57.5kg.

Not only is Richards leading this year’s Victorian Apprentice Jockey Premiership, but he is also sixth place in the overall Victoria Metro Jockey Premiership behind star hoops Damian Lane, Brett Prebble, Jye McNeil, Craig Williams and Damien Oliver. Given that, his 3-kilogram claim in town is no doubt a luxury, and Natalie Young says it is certainly handy to have someone like Josh on their side.

“It’s great. 3 kilograms is a lot when you’re in the city grade. It can really find you that extra length.

“He doesn’t really ride like a 3-kilogram claimer obviously. He’s getting a great chance with Ciaron Maher and he’s getting plenty of winners since making his move down from Sydney.

“He rates them nicely. He has nice kind hands, and they seem to run for him.”

Laundy has raced from 1400 metres all the way up to 2400 metres in his 20-start career to date, but Young thinks the 1600m-2000m range will end up his ideal distance range going forward. That is the exact progression he will take in this Friday night’s race, and when asked about her confidence levels heading into Friday night, Young’s answer was purely focused on preparation.

“I think he’ll be going into Friday very well. He had a great gallop this morning (Tuesday) and really towed his rider to the line.

“He pulled up and hardly blew, so I think he’s going into Friday as good as he was last start.”

Laundy will face off against fellow last start Valley winner La Spezia, who will also be suited stepping up to 10 furlongs on Friday night. We are set for a cracking race.