FOUR years after he was dubbed Australia’s most exciting pacer, former Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu will launch a remarkable comeback at Albion Park on Saturday night.
New co-trainers Belinda and Luke McCarthy are so thrilled with his progress, they think he could pick-up where he left off and be a major player in some Group 1 features during the rich Queensland Constellations Winter Carnival.
“He class, all class,” Luke McCarthy said. “We haven’t made a big thing of his return, but now he’s had a trial and is ready to race, it’s all real.
“On what he’s shown us at home and in the trial last week, he is up with our best pacers like Spirit Of St Louis and Expensive Ego.
“We’re taking him to Brisbane this week because I’m heading up there now, right through until the end of July and he might get an easier race there first-up than he would at Menangle.”
Jilliby Kung Fu posted a then record 1min48.8sec mile winning the 2018 Chariots Of Fire before finishing a slashing second in the Miracle Mile a week later when trained by Marg Lee in Victoria.
He went amiss four runs later, finished second one comeback run on January, 2020 and hasn’t raced since.
Jilliby Kung Fu, who boasts 16 wins and 12 placings from just 34 starts, has been standing at stud in recent years and nursed back to race fitness through the fantastic facilities Team McCarthy have at their Cobbitty Equine farm near Menangle.
“He’s part of a big team we will be campaigning in Queensland over the next couple of months,” Luke McCarthy said.
“We’ve got a good mix. A nice three-year-old called Mr Ibiza from NZ for the Derby, Cover Girl for the Oaks, The Honey Queen for the mares’ races and our open-class horses.”
Headlining the team will be the brilliant Spirit Of St Louis, who has inherited the title as Australia’s best pacer following the retirement of King Of Swing and extended spell for Lochinvar Art.
“Gee he’s come back well,” McCarthy said. “Every time we’ve spelled him, he’s absolutely thrived.
“He’s ready to trial. I’ll private trial him this week and I think we’ll take him straight to Queensland without a race (in NSW). He can trial again up here and then race in the next couple of weeks.”
Spirit Of St Louis won the Shepparton, Bendigo and Ballarat Cups earlier this year before fantastic seconds to King Of Swing in the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile.
McCarthy’s other open-class star Expensive Ego won’t be seen in Queensland.
“No, he’s had a good, long spell. He’s just about to come back in now and the Victoria Cup (October) is his first real target,” he said.
Article By Adam Hamilton
Whether it is racing – Standardbreds or Thoroughbreds – rehabilitation, agistment or breeding, Cobbitty Equine Farm’s location, facilities and operations ensure the horses welfare and development are paramount.