A RUNNING CHANCE: Grafton trainer Wayne Lawson with his horse Nautile who is out in the paddock while stablemate Stella’s Chance has a fair crack at the Class 1 & Maiden Handicap at Grafton today.
A RUNNING CHANCE: Grafton trainer Wayne Lawson with his horse Nautile who is out in the paddock while stablemate Stella’s Chance has a fair crack at the Class 1 & Maiden Handicap at Grafton today. Adam Hourigan

‘Forrest’ to go flat chat

CLASS 1 & MDN PLATE: Lightly raced three-year-old Stella's Chance has gained the nickname Forrest after the 1994 film of the fictional character played by American actor Tom Hanks.

Taken from the 1986 novel by Winston Groom, Forrest sets out running and doesn't stop - ending up running across America.

Stella's Chance's nickname has come from his track riders.

"In trackwork he just keeps running," the gelding's trainer Wayne Lawson said. "The track riders keep yelling at him to stop. They nicknamed him Forrest and it's stuck.

"It is quite incredible. I've never had a horse like him."

At Grafton on Monday, Stella's Chance will be hoping to out-run his rivals in the Bonfire (GB) Class 1 & Maiden Plate (1700m).

He faces the starter for just the third occasion in his short career.

Stella's Chance runs like a startled rabbit.

"He only knows one speed - flat out," Lawson joked. "Everything he does on the track is flat out. It's incredible.

"Trackwork is full on. He's like a kid in a candy store, yet around home he's as quiet as a lamb."

Even the story behind Lawson getting the son of Court Command is intriguing.

Lawson was looking for another horse for a group of mates and through a contact was told of a horse on the outskirts of Toowoomba.

He went up and had a look at him and found Stella's Chance running around in a paddock. Eventually he leased him and he is raced by the Mustaknown syndicate headed by Andrew Woods and Nautile syndicate headed by Terry Green.

"Apparently he was broken in by a local stockman as a two-year-old but he'd never been to a racecourse," Lawson recalled. "I got him just before Christmas. We're having a bit of fun with him."

Stella's Chance debuted in a 1415m maiden at Grafton on February 15. Unfortunately for connections, things didn't go right.

"He bucked six times and nearly threw Matthew (McGuren) off," Lawson said of the early mishap.

Stella's Chance recovered, running home well to finish 1.4 lengths fourth to Just Imagine. And yes, Stella's Chance was still running long after his rivals had pulled up.

Next time out and taken straight to the front in a 1700m maiden at Grafton on March 6, Stella's Chance led until the final bound when nabbed right on the line by the Matthew Dunn trained Sakitto, ridden by top Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne.

"He was a bit unlucky the other day," Lawson suggested. "They ran track record time and the difference was probably the ride by Jim Bryne who was able to sit on our back. I thought it was a really good run."

Lawson said Stella's Chance doesn't have to lead but indicated, "we'll push forward to some degree early and see what happens.

"He's pulled up good from last start and we're all looking forward to him going around on Monday."



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