The sometimes unorthodox training methods used on a Doncaster winner have been revisited in a bid to help Fill The Page post a breakthrough victory at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
After weeks of remedial work, Canberra-trained Fill The Page is expected to resume with a new outlook on racing in the Lansvale Maiden Plate (1300m).
And if the form from a maiden race during the two-day Scone Cup carnival continues to hold up, it could easily be a winning return for co-trainers Barbara Joseph and her son Paul Jones.
“The Scone race has turned out to be one of the strongest maidens you’ll come across and Fill The Page was probably the unlucky runner in the race,” Jones said.
Fill The Page finished third to Spot The Rock after making up late ground.
“A lot of the bad luck she’s had has been her own doing because she’s been reluctant to come to the outside of horses,” Jones said.
In a ringing endorsement for Scone’s support card, Spot The Rock went on to be placed in the Group Two Queensland Guineas.
To further emphasis the depth of the Scone form, five of the next six across the line have since broken through for their first wins.
Jones said Fill The Page’s preparation for a racetrack return had been varied to try to find the key to the mare.
“We sent her down to mum’s property at Bombala and one of the girls who works for us had her doing some dressage and showjumping,” Jones said.
“Basically the idea was to keep her mind off racing while teaching her to obey instructions from the rider.
“Since she’s been back in the stable she’s had two jumpouts over 800 metres at Canberra and she seems a lot better.”
Jones said his mother used a bush environment to curb the manner of subsequent Group One winner Merimbula Bay.
“Merimbula Bay was a bit unruly as a young horse so mum used to have him ridden to round up sheep,” he said.
“It helped him because he went on to win a Doncaster (in 1989).”
Bush jockey Brendan Ward, who made city headlines for his horsemanship when his mount jumped an outside running rail at Gundagai on Monday, has the Warwick Farm ride on Fill The Page.
“Brendan has been on her the most and he understands her better than anyone,” Jones said.