One thing jockey Stephen Baster has learned over his long career is that racehorses can make you look foolish.
Baster had been eagerly awaiting the Australian debut of Japanese-bred stayer Hush Writer ahead of the 2018 spring carnival after some solid trackwork.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained horse was doing everything right on the track and Baster thought he would win at Moonee Valley on his Australian debut last September.
But come race-day it was a different Hush Writer who ruined his prospects by throwing his head around and refusing to settle.
“I left home that morning for that first run at Moonee Valley and told (wife) Melissa I thought he’d win, he’s the quietest horse ever,” Baster said.
“Didn’t he make a liar of me.”
Baster rode Hush Writer on another two occasions during the spring, finishing second at Flemington over 2500m before a fading ninth in The Bart Cummings.
The pair reunite on Saturday at Flemington in the VRC Member Paul Barnard Handicap (2530m).
Hush Writer won the Listed McKell Cup at Rosehill on June 1 before running sixth in the Winter Cup at the same track.
Baster partnered Hush Writer in trackwork on Monday and said the five-year-old was perfectly behaved.
“He seems to going well and he’s been gelded since he was down here last time,” Baster said.
“Last time in he proved a handful on race day but was quiet at trackwork, which he still is, so hopefully he’s turned himself around.”
Baster and the Waterhouse-Bott combination also team with Echo Lad in the VRC Member Helen Saffin Handicap.
A winner at Warwick Farm on July 10, Echo Lad was sent to Melbourne where he ran fourth in the Byerley Handicap (1800m) on July 20.
“I think he ran the trip but he’s still just a bit immature,” Baster said.
“The 1400 metres might be a little short for him, but he’s a nice little horse and I’ve got a lot of time for him.”