Sentry Marches On

Sentry Marches On

Bruce Stewart

15th October 2020

Edendale trainer Craig Laurenson has a lot to thank Invercargill reinsman Rory McIlwrick for, as he nearly sacked Sentry – an impressive winner at Winton today – not once but four times.

“I said to Rory ‘Drive his one. It can run but I can’t get it to trail up.’ He hopped off and said that Sentry was my best horse,” Laurenson said.

As a two year old Sentry had worked 3-15 (2400) so Laurenson had no doubts about the horse’s ability.

“But I couldn’t get within a hundred metres of another horse. He’d throw himself and run off the track.”

The Big Jim five year old qualified on his home track at Wyndham in July, winning by twenty four and a half lengths and running the 2400 metres in 3-03.1.

“He ran his last mile that day in 1-56.”

He debuted at Winton in September but was pacing roughly throughout before breaking with 800 metres to run, finishing last. He then ran second at Invercargill.

“He probably should have won that day but an abscess blew out in his foot. The good thing was he didn’t whimper. He’s tougher than I thought he was so I give him full credit.”

At Sentry’s next run he finished third at Winton before winning at the Northern Southland meeting last weekend. Although that win was impressive, Laurenson says today’s victory was even better.

“Shit yeah. He was three lengths last with 1200 to run. Nowdays you just don’t do that especially with a Canterbury horse leading up (hehe hehe).”

And he believes there’s plenty of improvement in the horse.

“He’s still not right. Look at his coat. The winter down here has been a mongrel. Last night he gave my heart a real flutter. He lost two shoes in the paddock just running round. He’s not blowing at all after the run today. He’s getting over it better than I am. I found a few things about him that have helped. He’s pacing better.”

In today’ race, driver Mark Hurrell settled Sentry at the back of the field. He got a cart into the race inside the last 600 metres but still had to make ground on his own inside the last four hundred metres. He came six wide, rounding the home turn and let down nicely down the middle of the track to win by a length and a quarter from Racing Minister (later relegated). The mile was cut out in 1-55.5 with Sentry running his last 800 metres in 56.2.

Sentry striding out at the end of an easy win – Photo Bruce Stewart

Craig Laurenson and Sentry – Photo Bruce Stewart

Owned by long time stable client Ian Bennett, Sentry is out of the Christian Cullen mare On Guard.

It’s a family Laurenson knows well. He trained On Sky, a Soky’s Atom mare that won five of her ten starts.

“She was the best horse I ever trained. She went 1-50 in American and that was twenty years ago.”

He’s also trained a host of other winners from the same family including On The Double and Lord Patrol but unfortunately On Guard is not around anymore.

Although Sentry’s runs to date have been impressive, Laurenson says the biggest offer to buy him was $30,000 which came after he qualified.

“He qualified by twenty five lengths and ran his last mile in 1-56 and we said Nah.”

The horse will now be aimed at the $30,000 Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki on Show Day at Addington.

Today was the first time junior reinsman Mark Hurrell had driven the horse, and he was suitably impressed.

“He’d be right up there. He gave me a great feel. I wasn’t even going to pull the plugs because I had them covered. He just jogged that today and had no right to win from where he came from. He’s still got a lot to learn, he’s still pretty green. If he keeps going the way he is he’ll be open class.”