QUEENSLAND trainer Tracy Green loves everything about her horse Mr Hornblower.
Everything except his head.
Add up all the races the rising eight-year-old has lost by a head or less and his already impressive $600,600 career earnings would be a lot more.
However, Green will be hoping the gelding's colossal cranium will be head and shoulders in front of the field when he takes a second crack at the Listed WHK Cameron Ramornie Handicap (1200m) in July.
“That head has cost me a lot of money ... I just want to stretch it out,” she said.
“He's always just short, so many seconds, thirds and fourths.
“I couldn't get a more honest horse ... he's just unlucky.”
Mr Hornblower, like most of the field, was blown away by The Jackal's track record run in last year's Ramornie, but missed out on placing by ... you guessed it ... a head.
“I love him, he's my favourite, but the amount of times he has been beaten by a nose, a head, a half-head,” Green said.
“It's become a very expensive head.”
The lack of success at the July Racing Carnival has not deterred the Green camp, with Mr Hornblower in good form after winning the Listed Prime Minister's Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Mr Hornblower was actually second across the line to Rightfully Yours, but was awarded the race after jockey Glen Colless protested the decision citing 'severe interference passing the 200-metre mark'.
“When you are watching the race you just focus on your horse, but once we saw it from head-on it looked like it (interference),” Green said. “It's not the way you want to win it, but I'll take it.”
Another component to a successful Ramornie formula has fallen in, or more correctly, out of place, with two-time winner The Jackal considered a long-shot of starting in this year's race.
“It's made me even keener to get him down there,” she said.
“On his day The Jackal can do anything.”
Green said she would stick with the 'experimental' preparation used to good effect in Mr Hornblower's fourth placing in the 2008 Ramornie.
However, it will mean the Admiralty gelding will miss some of Queensland's premier races.
“He just doesn't like Eagle Farm, I don't know what it is,” she said.
“So he's going to the Darly Sprint and the Eye Liner and then we'll freshen him up.
“Last year was a bit of an experiment so we'll just try that again.”
Green said she 'loved' the July Racing Carnival and would be bringing a number of other horses to Grafton.
“This is about the third year we have been coming and we just have a ball,” she said.
“We'll probably bring Charter Boat for the (Grafton) Guineas and The Sixties for one of the other three-year-old events.”