Artlee has many quirks and Mitchell Bell knows them all.
After a trial separation the horse and jockey are back together in Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
Trained in the NSW Hunter Valley by Todd Willan, Artlee has had three Brisbane starts this campaign, showing both sides of his personality under Michael Cahill.
He finished third in two races either side of the Doomben 10,000 in which he pulled hard after acting up at the barrier.
“He’s got a few quirks but I’ve ridden him enough to know how best to deal with them,” Bell said.
“He’s got to get in and get out of the gates properly to do his best.
“You can’t give him too much and you can’t let him take too much off you.
“You have to work with him.”
Bell rode Artlee to win the inaugural $400,000 Country Championship last year but missed his Listed win in the Luskin Star Stakes at Scone at his next start when he was injured in an earlier race on the program.
He admits it was hard when he was taken off in favour of local rider Cahill for Artlee’s first three Brisbane starts.
“You have to cop these things on the chin,” Bell said.
“It means a lot to get back on him.
“I’ve probably ridden in a dozen or so Group One races but this is the first time I’m going into one on a genuine chance.”
Artlee will jump from barrier one, ideal for some but probably not for him as he will have to stand in the stalls the longest.
“I think seven to ten would have been perfect for him but it’s a new track and we don’t know how it will play,” Bell said.
“I do know he will be doing his best work late and coming home hard.”
While Bell would have preferred Artlee to be drawn out a bit, trainer Chris Waller had been hoping for better than 14 of 18 for three-year-old Counterattack, one of two runners for the stable.
James McDonald will ride the Waller-trained Delectation while Hong Kong champion “Magic Man” Joao Moreira will be aboard Counterattack.
“Counterattack has finally matured and he deserves a bit of luck,” Waller said.
“We’ll see how much magic the Magic Man’s got from that gate.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au