It was a long time between drinks for popular Gundagai trainer Jim Scobie.
Prior to Thursday’s meeting at Corowa, Scobie had last tasted success way back on July 17, 2016, when 2015 Snake Gully Cup winner Zero To Ten won the 1600 Open Handicap.
Since then, Scobie had been seen at the races only 60 times, and despite going close to winning the odd race over the past five and a half years, the thrill of greeting the judge first had alluded him.
That was until Thursday, when Bon’s Kingdom led from pillar to post in the 1300m Maiden Handicap, winning by 1.46 lengths for jockey Bradley Vale.
“It has been a while since I’ve won a race,” Scobie said.
“The last winner I had was a fair few years ago and it was at Corowa too.
“We haven’t been racing many though. When you breed your own, you can afford to try them out and race them for a bit.”
Bon’s Kingdom had been knocking on the door of a victory, having led them up at Wagga in two of her last three starts, finishing third on both occasions.
Everything went right for the five-year-old at Corowa though, when strolling in for a comfortable win, paying $8.70 on the NSW TAB.
Scobie explained the victory meant a lot to not only him, but Bon’s Kingdom’s connections.
“I’ve had plenty of dramas with her,” Scobie laughed.
“It was one of the most satisfying wins I’ve had. She has taken a while to get right, and it was a calculated risk going to Corowa after her recent efforts, but it worked out well.”
Brad Vale urged Scobie to take his mare to Corowa after her recent Wagga efforts, and the in-form Southern Districts hoop got the job done on the day, leading all the way from the outside draw.
“She started one from the outside, which was a better gate for us, and I was very confident we could win the race,” Scobie said.
“Brad was so positive and confident that she was going to win the race too. It was his idea to race her there. I wasn’t going to go there, but he insisted.”
Bon’s Kingdom – by Bon Hoffa and out of Keys To Thekingdom – is a half-sister to recent Cootamundra Cup and Queanbeyan Cup winner Zakeriz, and Scobie believed she had a lot of upside.
“She should really progress now that she has the hang of it,” Scobie said.
“She is obviously improving, and I think she will continue to get better with more racing.
“Considering she is a half-sister to Zakeriz, she is well bred, and we are looking forward to seeing what she can do.”
Coincidently, the sometimes hard to handle mare kicked off her career with Zakeriz’s trainer, Chris Hardy, before finding herself in the care of Scobie’s son, Ben Blay.
“Chris had her and she was just too much horse for them and he gave her to Ben,” Scobie said.
“Ben had her and got her going and did the work on her and he sent her down to me to help his old man out.”
Bon’s Kingdom has now started six times for a win and two minor placings, and Scobie believed she would make a better six-year-old next season.
“There is an upside to her for sure,” Scobie said.
“I always recommend that when they are six, that’s their best year and considering how she is going, she has a lot of upside.”
Scobie still thinks Bon’s Kingdom is good enough to win another race this preparation though, and he is preparing her for the 1300m Class Two Handicap at Corowa on December 28.
“She is on top of the world, she hasn’t missed a beat and she has recovered well,” Scobie said.
“She was out in front and did it at her own time. There was no pressure on, and she did it easy.
“I will give her another one and see how she goes.”