Delicate balance getting horse right

LAST preparation, promising three-year-old Ibalance left trainer John Shelton flummoxed, veterinarians stumped and supportive punters out of pocket.

The gelding that created such a big impression at last year's July Racing Carnival failed to fire in two runs last November-December.

“Hopefully we've got over a few hiccups,” Shelton said prior to Ibalance tackling the Geoff King Volkswagen Rating 67 Handicap (1200m) at Grafton today.

Shelton knew there was a problem last time in work - what it was still remains a mystery.

“No-one could put their finger on it (the problem),” Shelton said.

“He was never right in the coat.

“We ran heaps of blood tests, checked a lot of things, changed things around, but we could never get the horse looking well.

“Some vets said it was stomach ulcers, another said he was anaemic and others said it was something else.

“When he spelled he was treated for everything and came right.

“I've changed a few things around with him, diet etcetera. The problems are all behind him now.

“He looks much better to the eye, spelled really well and has grown and filled out.

“He's turned into a lovely horse.”

Ibalance, by Honours List, is raced by a group including Shelton, North Coast Nursery owner Peter Davy and Clarence River Jockey Club director Garry McCormick.

The gelding has been back in work for nine weeks, but wet tracks have hampered his preparation.

“I would liked to have found a 1000 or 1100 metres race for him, but there wasn't one around,” Shelton said.

“I've been happy with his work, but he's missed a couple of gallops and a jump out.

“I'm sure he'll run a good race, the only problem might be the last 200 metres.

“I just want to see what he does tomorrow before making any plans. If he comes through okay there's the July Carnival again.”

Ibalance will be ridden by Adam Hyeronimus today.

Shelton added consistent Our Gangstar ( XXXX Gold Open) was likely to tackle the $25,000 Kempsey Cup (1450m) next start.

“He'll run his usual bold race tomorrow,” Shelton suggested yesterday.

“Kempsey suits front runners. The cup looks a good race for him.”

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