Holbien redeems himself in Sandown victory

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February 14, 2018 - 07:42 PM

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Lightly raced Holbien is on a path to redemption in the eyes of trainer Steve Richards after landing his second career win at Sandown.

After kicking off his campaign with victory in maiden grade at Yarra Valley last month, Holbien followed up with a strong on-pace win in the Blue Star Print Group Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday.

Providing Jordan Childs with the second leg of a winning double, Holbien ($7) scored a half-neck win from Spirit Of Aquada ($3.80) with Haunted ($6) a half-neck away third.

Richards was hospitalised when Holbien kicked him when the horse was a yearling.

"It took around six months to recover," Richards said.

"I lost my spleen, broke some ribs and suffered some lung damage.

"I've always said if you're going to get kicked by a horse, make sure it's a good one because there would be nothing worse than getting kicked by a bad one."

But all has been forgiven and Richards is looking forward to Holbien extending out to 1400m and 1600m.

He said the three-year-old has a high cruising speed that will be suited to a longer trip.

"I think he'll be a 1400-metre to a mile horse with more experience and the more experience he gets the better," Richards said.

"He's a work in progress but a handy horse.

"I said after he won at Yarra Valley that I wanted to find the weakest race around, but I think this might be a hot little race.

"We'll let the dust settle but I think next preparation we'll see an even better horse."

A track upgrade wasn't enough to stop King's Command from winning the third heat of Mitavite Summer Challenge after connections had tried to withdraw the gelding.

The track was upgraded from a good three to a firm two following the running of the fourth race.

"Fortunately we won but that doesn't matter," Corstens said.

"The welfare of the horse comes first.

"He's an older horse that's not unsound but these older horses have a bit of wear and tear and (part-owner) Brad (Spicer) had the best interests of the horse in mind."