THE Kate Hargreaves-trained Dont Care's comeback continues to gain momentum following another convincing win at Shepparton on Friday night.
Having his third start after a seven-month spell, the Group 1-winning gelding showed his undeniable class by dashing to the front at the 500m and cruising away to a hard-held 6.2m victory.
It was the son of Used To Me out of the mare My Dreamweaver's second win in three starts since his comeback at Terang on February 19 and another victory for in-form Bendigo driver Ellen Tormey, who followed up with a long-priced winner for Strathfieldsaye trainer Julie Douglas on Saturday night at Melton with Khaki Nui.
An emotional win was a bit of a 'pick me up' for Hargreaves' brother Brett and his partner Brooke Palfreyman, whose father died during the week.
"It's been a sad week all round. A horse that Brett and Brooke own with myself and a few other people had to be put down on Saturday and then on Monday Brooke's father passed away," she said.
"I'm glad he could win for them, he certainly perked everyone up a bit.
"Brett and Brooke rang me and they were really rapt. It was nice to be able to do that for them.
"It's been tough for everyone, but that's the beauty of horses, they can tend to give everyone a bit of brightness in the darkness."
Hargreaves was impressed with the ease of the win by the maturing gelding, who was coming off a tough second at Ballarat on March 3.
"He has come back to racing nicely - I've got him trotting a lot better," she said.
"He's grown big and strong and it could have very easily have been three wins after he just got beat sitting outside the leader at Ballarat, so I really couldn't be happier with him.
"(On Friday night), Ellen went around at the right time when they ran that 32 second quarter. We sort of knew he would have to do work at some stage, so she made the move at the right time
"I probably knew from the 500m onwards that once he poked his head in front he would probably be just too good for them.
"He did it super-easy and sort of switched off. Bella Lucy was coming, so Ellen just needed to give him a tap to remind him to keep going.
"He was pretty relaxed."
That's the beauty of horses, they can tend to give everyone a bit of brightness in the darkness."- Kate Hargreaves
It was an all-Bendigo quinella, with Bella Lucy trained and driven by Longlea's Matthew Gath.
Hargreaves reaffirmed there was no actual target race for Dont Care this preparation, but anticipated the four-year-old would have at least a few more starts in a bid to toughen him up for some bigger races later in the year.
"My main focus is to keep him ticking along and season him and turn him into a racehorse," she said.
"He's had less than 20 starts, so he's still a big baby really.
"I don't think he will have a lot more starts before he goes back to the paddock, I'd like to keep him nice and fresh."
Dont Care provided Hargreaves, who notched up consecutive 100 win seasons in 2019-20 and 2021, with the standout moment of her still young training career with his triumph in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series as a two-year-old in 2020.
Friday night's win was the eighth of his career from 19 starts for earnings of $104,645.
Looking ahead, Hargreaves will have three runners at Mildura on Tuesday, with Grenade the pick of the young Shelbourne trainer's chances following a pair of seconds before a last start fifth at Swan Hill.
"He's been knocking on the door for a win, so if he can back up after a bit of a disappointing run last time, he might get his chance," she said.
"The other two (Nevada Yankee and Wonga Lake) are not without chances either."
READ MORE: Ash hoping to make his mark from Charlton
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.