Roper River Jake’s Sentimental Victory

JASON Thompson will throw Sunday’s exceptional maiden winner Roper River Jake in at the deep end when the Maturity gets underway at The Meadows Saturday.

Adam Dobbin

17 July 2019

JASON Thompson will throw Sunday’s exceptional Sandown maiden winner Roper River Jake in at the deep end when the Group 1 Maturity Classic (525m) gets underway at The Meadows this weekend.

A scorching 29.40 maiden winner on Sunday, scoring by a widening 14 lengths, the son of Kinloch Brae and outstanding producer Midnight News looked every bit the professional in his stunning maiden romp, putting a tilt at this week’s $100,000 to-the-winner Maturity Classic series firmly on the agenda.

“Jason’s got a big opinion of him,” said owner David Pringle on Monday.

“He’s always shown us he was very good. Early on he was breaking 26 in trials over the 450m at Bathurst but it was his first 516m trial at Dubbo that showed us what he could do.

“I trialed Midnight Dare there and she went just outside Midnight Starlet’s record in 29.32 … then I put Roper River Jake around and he went 29.56, his first ever 500m – I thought to myself not even Shakey (Jakey) was doing that at that stage.

“I took him back and he went the same his next look so he didn’t improve, but when you’re running those times at his age it’s hard to (improve). I sent him down to Jason at Easter time, the dog’s very professional in everything he does and can do it at both ends, which is what you want.”

Making Sunday’s best of meeting 29.40 time even more impressive was the fact the track was certainly on the slowish side, given the wild weather Melbourne received over the weekend.

“Jason thought he’d run 29.20 with a clear run and looking at the other times at the meeting you’d say he would have run that for sure,” added Pringle, remembering back on Burn One Down’s 19 length Sandown maiden win in a breathtaking 29.15.

“Jason said to me if the Melbourne Cup was on this week he’d be in it, that’s how high he thinks of him …but he won’t be a stud dog, he’s got no testicles. It’s actually a good thing, we can just concentrate on racing him and seeing how far he can go.”

With Roper River Jake showing all the promise in the world, Pringle explained the reasoning behind the prodigious youngster’s name, which carries a tragic backstory.

“We named him after young Jake Whiting who tragically died last November,” said an emotional Pringle.

“Jake was only 11. He was a young boy from Molong doing what young boys’ do, down the local creek fishing. It was a freakish accident what happened. A rock rolled down to where he was fishing and killed him … it was heartbreaking. Matt Duncan’s young boy was there with him when it happened. It’s been a real tough time.

“Earlier in the year myself and Danielle said to Jake’s parents Clinton and Kylie that we’d like to name a dog after him when the right one came along … Jake used to love fishing up at the Roper River in the Northern Territory so that’s where the name comes from.

“We actually had Clint and Kylie over for dinner Sunday night, they follow the dog and were really happy to see him win. It’s only a small thing but it’s a way of us remembering him.”

Meanwhile, Pringle said powerhouse chaser Midnight Dare will be targeted towards distance events after never being out of trouble in last week’s Group 2 McKenna Memorial Final, won by Often Imitated.

“I said to Jason if he wanted to send her home after last week that wouldn’t be a problem but he said she’s not going anywhere, he’s looking forward to getting her up in distance – he’s got no doubt she’s going to run out 700m.”