Massive NZ career comes to an end for Artatac

Matt Latest News, News 1 Comment

There was a time where Mark Jones wanted to sack Artatac from his stable.

Odd to think now considering the job he’s done on the track, but his sale to America this week brought back memories for Jones of a horse who would work like Tarzan around home but step out on race day and race like Jane.

But each time Jones pondered over whether Artatac’s future lay in someone else’s care, his decision was swayed by the input of owner Grant Hatton, who had confidence in both his horse – and his trainer, to get the best of the gelding.

“Grant just let me do what I wanted, so we tried a few things and found the key to him and away we went,” Mark said this week.

Grant and Kathy Hatton. 

99 starts, 16 wins and 24 placings for more than $170,000 in stakes would suggest not shipping the son of Art Major out the gate early on was an astute decision.

That record makes Artatac the second most successful horse, in terms of wins, to have raced from the Overport Lodge base, second only to the recently retired Sioux Princess who won 18.

A wonderful exponent of the handicapping system, Artatac’s departure is a sad one for the stable, but there’s plenty of pride in what he achieved for Hatton and his wife, Kathy too.

“He’s been a great horse for us, but there’s plenty out there like him too.

“The only difference is that their trainers worry about their UDR too much and don’t play the handicapping system in front of them.”

Jones and the Hatton’s brought Artatac unsighted from the Melbourne sale at a time when Jones had a stable base set up in Sydney and straight away there was something to work with.

“He came to me in Sydney and within three hours he went from an unbroken horse to pacing around in the cart, so we sent him to New Zealand to race.”

What probably makes his career most remarkable however is that most pacers running around in the intermediate grade in Canterbury have a bit of age on their size, but Artatac heads to American still a young horse, a busy one, sure, but still young at just five-years-old.

He won his first race at Winton in 2020, and slowly worked his way through the grades during 2021 as a three-year-old, having 47 starts for seven wins and 11 placings.

“He loved racing, so we didn’t mind lining him up, he won a lot of money as a three-year-old and did a great job.”

Sam Ottley was one of the major benefactors of his busy schedule.

All told the pair combined for 10 of the 16 wins his career forming a strong combination as they pinged onto the speed and put themselves in fortuitous positions.

Gemma Thornley won four times on him, including his last two starts to the races before being sold, and also had a dead-heat win in her first drive for the Jones stable at Banks Peninsula.

Mark himself was on board for the debut win at Winton, while Ricky May was in the bike for the other.

“We’ve been lucky, as I said, Grant and Kathy have been great to deal with around him.

“They never complain, just let me do my thing and they just love their horses, so it’s great to see them get success when it happens.”

And now as one of the stable stars heads out the gate for a new future, the hunt begins for the horse to replace him.

But finding one as good as Artatac won’t be an easy task.

Comments 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *