OBSTACLE COURSE: Owner trainer Sucha Singh with his charge for race one today Halt.
OBSTACLE COURSE: Owner trainer Sucha Singh with his charge for race one today Halt.

Equine enigma



THE racehorse Halt could be best described as an equine enigma.

His stall looks like a grand prix racing circuit, laden with tyres, and the eight-year-old gelding circumnavigates his surroundings covering more kilometres than the early explorers.

While a kind-natured animal who has won five races, Halt has been a source of frustration for Grafton trainer Sucha Singh.

"Forget the wins what about the 11 seconds," Singh said.

"The way he works and if you were backing him you'd end up with a sandshoe and galoshes."

Halt steps up to the mark again at the Grafton TAB meeting today in the 1000m opening event, Good As Gold Class 5 Hcp.

Singh came by Halt via the gelding's dam, Seize whom he trained for prominent Yamba owner, Greg Ingham, a long time friend and client.

"Seize had bad feet and she was eventually sent to stud," Singh recalled.

"Greg asked if I wanted to keep the mare and I said no I'll have a foal by her so after she was served by Brief Truce she was sent to Barry Rogers Stud at Coutts Crossing and the resulting foal was named Halt.

"I'm due to get the next foal by the mother, probably next year. Barry said Seize was likely to go back to Nidan (Rogers resident stallion)."

Seize has delivered several foals since Halt including the John Shelton-trained Miss Nidan who finished third at Toowoomba yesterday.

Halt was broken in by David Campbell at Grafton and his early words to Singh proved foreboding.

"David said he was head strong, virtually dumb," Singh said. "He's turned out to be right.

"Anything possible a horse can do wrong, he (Halt) knows how to do it.

"If you put him in a paddock one day, he's as good as gold. The next day he'll walk continuously around the fence line.

"And he's a bad box walker. His stall looks like a grand prix track. I've got about six tyres in there but he still manages to turn them to walk around.

"He can be a weaver, windsucker, you name it, but what he is is an enormous eater.

"Since I've had him he's never ever left a feed.

"But he's also tough. The horse has been up since since February and it's now September.

"With the amount of walking he does in his stall he should look like a coat-hanger but he doesn't and I don't do a lot with him on the track, he goes to the river.

"He does it all the work himself."

Singh said Halt's racing manners were not unlike his home traits.

"Everything needs to go right for him," he said.

"You've got to ride him like he's not trying. Smother him up and have one short, sharp burst at them. He can't get to the front too early. It's not the jockey's fault, he's just one of those horses.

"I think most of his second's have been by the barest of margins. He's just that sort of horse but in saying that I'd like to have more of him because he's half consistent.

"He keeps backing up."

Singh described Halt as "an attention seeker.

"If I move another horse or things around he plays up thinking he's missing out on something. He's just loves attention."

Despite his personal misgivings, given the right mood and conditions Halt can be explosive.

However, Singh was last night rueing the rail placement for today's meeting -- 5 metres out from the 1100m to 700m and 6m out from the 700m to winning post.

"I can't work out why the false rail is out so far, a lot of trainers are complaining. It doesn't suit back markers and Halt is a back marker," he said.

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