Jay Hopkins says he wouldn’t trade his first black-type win as a trainer for the world, though he admits Got Unders’ success has had a downside.
Before the eight-year-old gelding provided Hopkins with a memorable moment in mid-September, the Newcastle-based horseman assumed Got Unders would generally ply his trade in the bush.
However, plans had to be revised when the horse he purchased as a weanling won the Group Three Cameron Handicap (1500m) race on his home track.
Got Unders, who has been unplaced three times since the Cameron, runs in the November Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“When we won the Cameron we were only rated low 80s and by winning that we’re forced into these Open Handicaps and the Listed races,” Hopkins said.
“On the one hand I wouldn’t change it for the world, but on the other … he’s just right up in class now so it’s obviously getting harder for him.”
A former head foreman for John O’Shea, Barbara Joseph and Luke Oliver, Hopkins took out his trainers’ licence in August last year after assisting Ken Lantry in Newcastle.
Hopkins, who has six horses in work, took over from Lantry as Got Unders trainer to achieve a long-term goal.
“When I got him I was a foreman for a trainer (Oliver) in Melbourne. I always planned to eventually get my licence,” he said.
Although Hopkins anticipates another tough assignment at Rosehill, he is positive about booking Tim Clark and drawing barrier three.
Clark rode Got Unders for the first time in the Cameron Handicap but was unavailable for his subsequent starts.
“It was a good combination that day so hopefully it can replicate on Saturday,” Hopkins said.
The gate should also be beneficial.
“We’ve been caught deep in the last three runs so we finally got a decent enough gate to get a good run.
“We’ll be handy in the run and closer to the rails if it all works out,” Hopkins said.