Spotlight On: Not As Promised

Not As Promised was born on September 10, 2019, and the brown colt was a big rangy foal with legs that went forever, but in many ways, it defied his breeding and genetics.

You see, when digging deeper on his pedigree, the youngster dubbed ‘Zeus’ has defied a lot of things throughout his brief career to date.

He’s a son of former World champion Betting Line, a pacer that banked more than $2 million and took a PB time of 1:47.2 before being retired to stud while the maternal side of the pedigree is just as impressive.

Zeus is the sixth foal from former star race filly All Promises, a triple Oaks winner for Shannon Price and Raboki Farm back in 2006.

On the track, All Promises and her slight frame won 17 of her 39 starts including the Queensland, Australian and Redcliffe Oaks plus the 4 & 5yo Championship and 3yo Breeders Classic while connections also ventured to Auckland to contest the four-year-old features at Alexandra Park.

All Promises finished third behind Monkey King in the Group 1 Messenger while finishing fourth behind brilliant Sydney pacer Divisive in the Gr.1 Taylor Mile. She was one of the first horses invited to contest the 2007 Chariots of Fire at Harold Park before Equine Influenza brought the racing industries to a sudden halt.

At stud, her winners include Future Promises (nine wins, $55,000), Lethal Promise (nine wins, $72,000), Only One Promise (nine wins, $72,000), Amillion Promises (14 wins, $103,000) and the maiden Promise Me Please.

Following the filly Promise Me Please, Price moved the mare onto her good friend, Victorian-based trainer Jess Tubbs for a modest amount because she wanted to keep breeding from the ageing mare.

Tubbs booked the mare into Betting Line with the resultant foal being Not As Promised while she has since delivered colts by Warrawee Needy and Always B Miki before being retired.

Jess’s sister Amy rides the mare around Larajay Farm most days.

So, Zeus is bred to pace and pace extremely fast given his lineage. But it’s anything but. Quite the opposite, in fact, he trots and trots extremely fast.

Hence the race name, Not As Promised – very clever in many ways!

Given plenty of time to mature into his big lanky frame, the youngster was gelded and went unraced as a two-year-old but, all the while showing potential from the breaking-in stage through until his race preparations.

He was in and out of work many times before making his official debut earlier this year.

On February 15, Not As Promised made his debut at Charlton and finished a respectable second behind Off Your Faceski by a short half head margin as favourite.

Placings followed at Melton and Geelong before breaking maiden ranks at Shepparton on March 17 when triumphant in a time of 2:02.2 for the 2190m distance.

Starting at odds of $1.25, Not As Promised scored by over 18m.

Following the victory, he was twice again placed again at Ballarat before being sent for a break.

The break coincided with the European trip that Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars took with their stable star Just Believe for the famed Elitlopp at Solvalla, Stockholm.

Enter Graham Dwyer.

The North Maclean horseman spotted the rangy trotter after studying another horse which was purchased for his stable by loyal clients.

“We purchased a trotter called Orlando Rock who won his only start at Melton and Not As Promised finished third in the same race, I was really taken by both horses. In the end, Orlando Rock encountered a tendon issue, but I did mention the other guy to a few people,” Dwyer explained.

Upon their return from the European trip, Tubbs and Sugars were inundated with new stock, which made things difficult at Larajay Farm, something had to give, and several of their horses had to make way. And one of those was Not As Promised.

Dwyer had mentioned Not As Promised to his good friend Denis Grieve, a close mate of Sugars, to gather further intel while referencing the horse to stable client Tony Veivers.

“In the end, Tony dealt directly with Greg and settled on a price and before long, the horse was on the way to my place. Once Tony told me he secured the horse, I immediately mapped out a program in a bid to win the purchase price back as quickly as possible.

“He had been jogged and ready to commence fast work at the time of his purchase, we gave him two trials against older horses (both trials won by Majestic Lavros) and we knew we had something. We still had some sorting out to do but overall, we were confident he was ready to go.

“He won his first three starts at Albion Park for us before we had our first feature target, the Springboard 3YO Final. Nathan (Dawson) said everything was on song and filled us with great confidence with how the plan was unfolding.”

Not As Promised after a win at Albion.

The Springboard Final carried prizemoney of $15,600 and he dominated his three rivals before stepping up against older rivals the following week.

Again, he scored and proved the raid on the Group 1 Victoria Trotters Derby Series at Maryborough was a distinct possibility.

Not As Promised was sent back to the trials by Dwyer in readiness for his southern trip and performed well while receiving encouraging feedback from Dawson.

His first defeat for the stable came via the Derby heat when fourth behind The Locomotive, London To A Brick and Shes Ruby Roo in a time of 2:01.2 in the 2690m event.

“The logistics of getting him down there weren’t smooth, originally, we were flying with Leap To Fame (Victoria Cup bound) but we ended up going by road. It wasn’t ideal but he qualified, and we knew there was plenty of improvement still to come.

“He hung quite badly in the heat and proved rather difficult to drive for Nathan. I sent the horse down to Denis under the supervision of my son Layne and I couldn’t be more proud of the job Layne had done. He’s only 16 years old but he’s done everything with this horse, he drives him all the time in work, and he recommended we put a burr on him.

“We got a shocking draw in the final and, as a result, his odds ballooned to 250-1 which really annoyed me. It was that feeling of disrespect which upset me most, in the end, we all had some of those odds that were offered.

“When they hit the line, I wasn’t sure and win or lose, I didn’t really mind because the horse tried his heart out. I was so proud of the effort, and everyone had played their role in this journey. But, when I understood the race was ours, I was totally overcome with so many emotions.”

Not As Promised beat Prince Of Rock by a short half head margin while The Locomotive finished third in the $75,000 feature.

It was the first time a Queensland-trained trotter had even qualified for the Victoria Trotters Derby Final, a race first staged in 1914.

And the feature race campaign is set to continue with the Breeders Crown and New Zealand Derby under strong consideration.

The Great Square at Albion Park next July is an obvious long-term target.

And that’s a promise.

Not As Promised.