‘They told me he was no good’: Now he’s Country Championships top pick

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When Norm Loy was given Ilovesaki he was told “it’s no good”, but 10 starts later the four-year-old is favourite to make his way to Sydney for the Country Championships Final from the Southern Districts qualifier at Albury on Saturday.

Loy trains the gelding for a couple of mates and was surprised when he first galloped him, given what they had told. The real turnaround came, however, when he put blinkers on him at the start of the year.

Country Championships hopeful Ilovesaki scores at Wangaratta with Brodie Loy, son of trainer Norm, in the saddle.Credit:Getty

“Two months ago I didn’t think I would have a horse in the Country Championships and now we have the favourite,” Loy said. “Amazing really.  They told me he was no good when they sent him to me but he could always gallop.

“We tried a few things with him and then I put the blinkers on him one day and he flew. They have really straightened him up.

“I rang [jockey son] Brodie after I galloped him in them and told him he had to come and ride him at Wangaratta and he come down from Sydney for it and won easily.

“He did the same in the preview, so we are going into the race with a bit of confidence.”

Ilovesaki was made favourite for the Country Championships heat after News Girl was scratched to run in Saturday’s Mannerism Stakes at Caulfield. Loy is disappointed she won’t be there.

“If you beat News Girl on her merits in the heat you would go to Sydney thinking you were a real hope in the final,” he said.

“We have a horse on the way up and we really don’t know how good he is.”

Loy said it would be his proudest moment if he could have the biggest win of his career with son Brodie in the saddle on Saturday.

“It is great to see Brodie going so well up in Sydney, but if he can come back and win this heat, that would be unbelievable,” Loy said. “There wouldn’t be too many father and son combinations that could say that they won a Country Championships heat.”

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