Former top hurdler Just Got Home made a welcome and well received return to the winner’s circle at Te Aroha today when he prevailed in a thrilling finish to the Frank & Annie Matijasevich Memorial Open Steeplechase (3500m).
The rising twelve-year-old had won for the first time over the bigger fences at the same venue back in August last year after switching to steeplechasing following a richly successful hurdling career that saw him win on five occasions in that role, including a victory in the 2014 Wellington Hurdle (3400m).
Trainer Rudy Liefting was keen on the chances of his charge before the race and that opinion was validated by Just Got Home who jumped superbly in or near the lead throughout.
Tackled and headed by Magic Wonder with 1000m to run, Just Got Home forged his way back to the front on the point of the home turn before holding out the late challenge of Lacustre to register his 12th career victory and take his total earnings over the $300,000 mark.
“I’m going to retire him after this year as he’s eleven now and he’s been such a good horse for us,” Liefting said.
“He hasn’t got a Northern (Great Northern Steeplechase) in him or anything like that, but races like this are just nice for him.
“He’s got plenty of speed and likes to bowl along a bit at a good clip and enjoys it here (Te Aroha).
“There’s a $40,000 chase here at the end of the season so I think we will shoot for that.”