Tim McIntosh has the last laugh as Star Shaft wins at trainer’s first city runner

KIng for a day: Paul King rides Star Shaft to victory in the TAB Highway Handicap at Randwick. Photo: bradleyphotos苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛Tim McIntosh’s ex-girlfriend and former apprentice was supposed to be where he was standing after the Highway Handicap: in the winner’s stall, nervously smiling, wondering how it all happened so quickly.

But as Samantha Clenton was strung up between horses and with nowhere to go on Greg Bennett’s previously unbeaten Clearly Innocent, McIntosh was cheering as Paul King sailed down the outside on Star Shaft to land the 24-year-old ex-jockey his first win with a Sydney starter.

“I was apprenticed to Pat Farrell when I was 15 years old and he is my great uncle,” the Muswellbrook-based McIntosh said. “That’s how I got involved. Pat’s been good for me and he has taught me a lot and I worked for him for a long time. It’s my first time here.

“They’ve got a big opinion of [Clearly Innocent], but I also like this horse. I think this will be his prep because we’ve finally got his feet right and he’s finally stepping right.”

McIntosh was at pains to point out farrier Tom Gallagher had worked overtime to get his unfashionable type back to the races. There is another man, Star Shaft’s managing part-owner Craig Benjamin, he was also thanking.

“He’s a nice young bloke, he’s an ex-jockey so he knows a bit about horses and he’s got a lovely family behind him,” Benjamin said. “I know the horses are always fed and he always rings me up. He’s just a good young trainer and he’s just on the way up.”

Benjamin was going to part with Star Shaft as a yearling after he and a mate pitched in to buy the horse’s dam, Good Question. He’s thanking his lucky stars he didn’t.

“We were going to sell the yearling, but we thought, ‘no, he looks too good in the paddock’,” Benjamin said. “We had an eye for him and put a few friends together [and raced him].”

Settling back in the field, King wheeled the horse to the outside and gunned down Highway Handicap specialist Matt Dale, who produced the runner-up Northern Fury. Another Canberra horse, Keith Dryden’s Bid Of Faith, was third.

King only came for one ride at Randwick. It proved more than enough and saved him a trip to Hawkesbury where “four or five” rides were waiting.

“My manager Wayne Harris rang and said, ‘Tim wants you to go and trial the horse. If you like it you can ride it in the Highway race’,” King said. “I went up and rode him in the trial and got in the car and said straight away to Wayne, ‘I want to ride him’.

“He’s run a lot of places in his short career, but it’s probably due to the fact he burns himself out too early and wants to go too hard. I consider that a strong Highway race – probably the strongest yet by a long shot – and I said to Tim if you can win that you will probably win a few Saturday races.”

Clenton? She said Clearly Innocent “will win next time”, making ground late after his traffic problems in the straight to finish sixth. McIntosh won’t have to wait until then.

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