AMIDST the backslapping of landing his first Group One winner in more than 40 years of training Stan Cameron took the time to think of his good mate Neil McCallum at Tabcorp Park Melton during the weekend.
Cameron puts the polish on his rejuvenated trotter Savannah Jay Jay, which completed a hat-trick at headquarters when he led all the way in the Australasian Trotting Championship.
Sent out a $2.70 favourite, Savannah Jay Jay stepped safely from the tapes and his task was made easier when the pole marker Mclovin galloped shortly after the start allowing driver James Herbertson to urge the popular elect to the lead.
Herbertson had a lapful of horse around the home turn with Red Hot Tooth seemingly under double wraps on his back awaiting the sprint lane.
While Herbertson has been in the sulky during the eight-year-old’s past five outings it has been McCallum who has taken the reins in Savannah Jay Jay’s previous 110 outings.
Cameron explained the reason for McCallum’s recent absence in the sulky.
“Neil hit a kangaroo on his way to drive a couple of horses at the Maryborough trials about five weeks ago and broke his back,” Cameron said. “As soon as he is ready he’ll be back driving for me.”
Bred by Cameron’s son Scott, Savannah Jay Jay had saluted in one of his previous 19 starts prior to completing the hat trick and the veteran horseman is at a loss to explain the recent change in fortune.
“I haven’t done anything different with him, it has been exactly the same as it has been for the past five or six years,” Cameron said.
Cameron conceded he went into the race with a degree of trepidation as Savannah Jay Jay attempted a rare sojourn behind the tapes.
“I actually stood him up twice this week and he jumped away both times but he didn’t begin that quickly tonight and luckily Mclovin galloped away on our inside,” Cameron said.
Red Hot Tooth ran her second consecutive placing in the race after saluting in 2017.
“I could see Red Hot Tooth was going well on the turn and it had the chance to run us down in the straight,” Cameron said.
Cameron indicated Savannah Jay Jay will tackle tomorrow night’s John Slack Memorial Trotters’ Cup at Ballarat before heading for a short spell.
“I won’t be chucking him out in the paddock though,” Cameron said. “He dropped off last season after I put him out for a month and it was the worst thing I could have done; it took me ages to get him back.”
Meanwhile the 19-year-old Herbertson admitted the occasion got to him as he brought his first Group One winner back to the parade ring.
“It’s a great feeling,” Herbertson said. “I was getting a bit teary around the side but I’ve cleaned up now.
“I just can’t thank Stan enough for the opportunity.”