Emerging trainer Jack Bruce snared his first black-type race as the tough Axe overcame the outside barrier to take out the Listed Weetwood Handicap (1200m) at Toowoomba on Saturday.

It’s been a rapid rise to prominence for the Deagon handler, who only had his first runner in May after cutting his teeth as an assistant trainer to the likes of Ciaron Maher and Bjorn Baker.

Incredibly, the milestone win was just the 12th of Bruce’s young career, coming from his 42nd runner.

Making it even more special was the manner of Axe’s performance, jockey Samantha Collett driving the six-year-old gelding forward from the wide alley to sit outside the early leader Greyworm.

The hoop went for home early in the straight and pinched a break and it proved the winning move as Axe had just enough up his sleeve to hold off the fast-finishing Mass Destruction and Garibali.

Bruce admitted he had his heart in his mouth in the dying stages.

“It was a great ride by Sam but I must say I saw Garibaldi coming and I thought ‘not again’ but he hung tough and he’d improved fitness wise from that first-up run,” he said.

“It’s really pleasing, he’s a nice horse, it’s a big result.

“I was very nervous in the week leading up to the race, I just didn’t know if we’d have the firepower to come across, but he did – he was really strong.”

Bruce has enjoyed plenty of big-race success working in some of the country’s major stables but securing one in his own right – particularly only a few months into his career – is particularly special.

But Bruce wasn’t getting carried away.

“It means a lot but I suppose in the bigger picture it’s just about getting everything right with every horse, regardless of what we’re doing,” he said.

“Obviously these wins are outstanding and you love them but the main thing is to get it right every time.”

Collett was full of praise for Bruce and Axe.

“Full credit to Jack and his team, this horse looked phenomenal today. The wide draw obviously wasn’t ideal but he’s got such good early speed I was able to tear across pretty quickly and just sit off Greyworm. He really made it easy for me,” she said.

“I was trying to put a little bit of acid on them early to give them something to chase and obviously they were coming at me late but he’d done enough.”

It was a case of so close but so far for Queensland’s leading trainer Tony Gollan in his quest to secure his hometown feature for the first time.

Gollan had three winners on the card – including the Garden City Guineas with Madame Odette – but he had to settle for second and third in the Weetwood, while he also had the runner-up in the Toowoomba Cup.

Aussie Nugget was unable to get past the Gary Duncan-trained Seat Of Power, who stuck his neck out when it mattered to land the $125,000 contest.

Original article from Racenet (24th September 2022) – https://www.racenet.com.au/news/axe-delivers-milestone-win-for-trainer-jack-bruce-in-weetwood-handicap-20220924