By Garrick Knight

It might be hard to believe, but brilliant Alexandra Park winner Suzie Pee Jay was a doubtful starter for most of the week leading up to Friday night’s race.

Trainer Derek Balle had been unhappy with her blood after her previous start and says he only made the decision to start on Thursday.

“I was very disappointed with her last week; she got the best run she’s ever had in her life and dropped out.

“It turns out she was tied up and her bloods were out – she had a high GGT level.

“She’d had two hard runs before that, but raced well, so she was obvious feeling those a little bit last week.”

He threw her in to the nominations for this week, mainly because it was very suitable race – a field of horses who have mainly raced on the grass and at Cambridge all season but competing for $15,000 – but he had no real expectations.

Punters let her go after last week too, the poor draw and disappointing run seeing her drift out to nearly $20 on the tote.

Balle had a small wager once seeing the “silly” odds on the indicator board before the race and says the mare’s Perth based owners had a decent bet on her.

“His name is Kim Tuckey, and he’s a pleasure to train for. A really nice fella.”

Balle says he only got the mare to train by chance and there was a fair bit of symmetry about the win.

“Graeme Henley bred her and sold her at the weanling sale.

“And of course, Graeme was on hand tonight for the win as he sponsored the race through Alabar.

“Graeme rung me one day and asked if I’d break her in for a guy in Perth.

“I did that, and sent her home to Alabar to spell, and then they sent her back for another prep.

“Then Kim called and asked if I trained racehorses and would I like to carry on with her.”

Tonight’s win was her second, to go with five placings, and took her earnings past $20,000 for the season.

“Kim’s over the moon, and he’s gone back to the well last year and brought a filly by A Rocknroll Dance from the same sale.

“It’s from the same family as Suzie Pee Jay, the Zenola Star family that Geoff Small had a lot of success with.”

Balle also praised driver Kyle Marshall, who has managed 21 wins this season despite not being attached to a bigger stable.

“He’s got good, soft hands and doesn’t knock them around.

“As well as that, he does what he’s told, not that I give a lot of instructions.

“I’m happy to support him because he deserves more drives.”