Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Banjup trainer Murray Lindau has joyful memories of preparing and driving gift pacer Besos Baci between 2012 and 2015 when the mare raced 57 times for eight wins and 14 placings for stakes of $53,397.
But then it was far from a bed of roses for Lindau when the first two foals he and his partner Claire McNaughton bred from Besos Baci died in separate paddock accidents before they were able to start a racing career.
The colts were by American Ideal and Alta Christiano, and Lindau and McNaughton were full of hope that they would develop into successful performers.
The third of Besos Baci’s foals is Hotly Pursued, a two-year-old gelding by American sire Huntsville who is revealing the potential to develop into a star juvenile pacer.
Hotly Pursued took his record to five starts for three wins, two placings and stakes of $34,254 when Kyle Harper drove him to an effortless all-the-way victory in the Simmonds Steel Western Crown, a listed classic for colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Hotly Pursued, the $1.10 favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier, was not extended and barely raised a sweat when he set a dawdling early pace with a lead time of 8.5sec. and opening quarters of 34sec. and 31.7sec. before increasing the tempo with final 400m sections of 29.9sec. and 28.2sec.
He won by a length and a half from the $7 second fancy Fess Up, rating a pedestrian 2.3 over the 1730m journey.
“I like him a lot,” said Lindau. “What impresses me is his explosive turn of foot. When you pull him out, he gets to top speed very quickly.”
Harper agreed, saying: “He’s got that sort of speed. You can’t give it to them. They’ve either got it, or they don’t, and he’s got it. He’s got strings to his bow; he can come out of the gate and lead, and he can sit up and sprint home. He can do it at both ends, and he got away with murder tonight.”
Lindau revealed that ace trainer Colin Brown and Liam O’Connor had purchased the New South Wales-bred Besos Baci, a Blissfull Hall filly, as an unraced youngster. But they were disappointed with the way she worked and decided to give her to Lindau as a gift.
“Besos Baci was not very big, but she was nuggetty and strong,” said Lindau, who drove her to four of her eight wins. “And now I must give credit to Trevor Lindsay for recommending Huntsville as a sire. The service fee was quite affordable; I think it was about $4500.”
Huntsville, who has left Australia and has returned to America, earned $1.8 million from his 15 wins, eight seconds and one third placing from 25 starts.
“Hotly Pursued will now go to the paddock before I bring him back to get ready for the two-year-old Pearl (a $100,000 classic to be run on August 26),” said Lindau.
After the Pearl, the $225,000 Westbred Classic on September 16 and the $125,000 Golden Slipper on September 30 look ideal targets for the most impressive Hotly Pursued.