By TONY WHITE
FOUR months back seven-year-old gelding In Under There's racing career was finished.
Grafton trainer Phil McLeod and part-owner, wife Vicki, decided to give the gelding to their daughter Pauline as a lead pony or hack.
Yesterday at Grafton In Under There was back in the winners' stall taking out the feature $12,000 John Carlton Cup (1200m) at Grafton.
It was a visit from close mate and business partner, Sydney-based owner-trainer Dave Sweeney, that changed fortunes for In Under There, McLeod and the gelding's owners.
"He (In Under There) was retired. I was going to give him to Pauline, use him as a lead pony or hack," McLeod said.
"Around four months back Dave and I were driving around, saw In Under There in the paddock, and he asked why that horse was there.
"Dave said he looked too good to be retired and we should get him out and put him back into work.
"Here we are now standing here winning a cup race ... unbelievable."
In a driving finish, In Under There ridden adroitly by Allan Robinson, burst through a wall of horses inside the 100m to score by a half neck from King Fuji and heavily-backed Ashbury third.
While the win qualified In Under There for a start in Wednesday's $125,000 Black Toyota Ramornie (1200m), McLeod said the gelding would not start.
"He's not up to the Ramornie. He'll back up in the Maclean Cup now," he said.
It was a welcome change of fortunes for the McLeod-Robinson partnership after heavily backed commodities Crowntreno, Royal Blood and His Excellency had all been beaten as favourites.
"He rode this one like he should," McLeod commented of Robinson's daring ride.
"He had to be ridden like that (saved for one final crack at them). You've just got to sit, wait and hope. He's only got a short sprint."
McLeod revealed he had hatched a plan to set In Under There for the John Carlton not long after he and Sweeney decided to put him back into work.
"He won a 1600 metres race as a two-year-old and I tried to turn him into a miler," McLeod said.
"But he's by Centaine and they're sprinters.