CLINTON, ON — Over the last nine months Fred Jamieson has been continually amazed by two-year-old trotting colt Hibbler’s professional attitude, and the Putnam resident is hoping the colt’s all-business approach carries him to a large piece of Grassroots pie at Clinton Raceway on Sunday.

“He’s so level-headed, he doesn’t have an excitable bone in his body,” notes Jamieson, who shares ownership on Hibbler with trainer Murray Weber of Putnam and Renato Confortin of London. “We’ve been waiting for the bubble to burst, but he’s just an incredible horse. He’s so mature for being a baby.”

The partners acquired Hibbler at last fall’s Forest City Yearling Sale in London after coming to the realization that their first choice — a Kadabra colt — was beyond the reach of their budget. When Hibbler stepped into the sales ring they were impressed with his breeding and conformation, and his $12,000 price tag.

“We really liked him, we looked at him early in the day and we liked his pedigree, we liked his conformation — he stood very well — and he hasn’t proven us wrong,” says Jamieson, who will steer the colt from Post 1 in the fifth race on Sunday. “We’re very excited about him.”

Sunday’s contest will be the Striking Sahbra son’s first test. He qualified at Mohawk Racetrack on June 14, trotting to a 2:06.3 mile over a rain-soaked surface rated two seconds slower than normal, but came up sick before a June 30 non-winners event at Grand River Raceway that was to serve as his racing debut.

After two weeks of rest and relaxation, Jamieson is confident Hibbler has shaken off the virus and will be on his game Sunday.

“He trained this morning and he trained awesome,” says the horseman. “I’d say he’s back to top form.”

Based on his impressive early lessons and his solid qualifying effort, Jamieson, Weber and Confortin toyed with sending Hibbler to the Gold Series for his Ontario Sires Stakes debut, but decided the young trotter’s development would be better served with a Grassroots outing at Clinton.

“We figured if we can’t get a race under his belt before the Gold, he’s better off trotting around Clinton,” recalls Jamieson. “I don’t think he’ll have any trouble there. He trains on my farm track and he just slides around the turns, so he shouldn’t have any problems at Clinton.

“He has an excellent gait on him. I hope I don’t prove him wrong on Sunday,” adds the driver wryly.

Once they have an opportunity to measure the colt against his peers, the partners will revisit the question of where Hibbler fits on the provincial circuit. The colt’s full-sister Condi Lane ($71,913) has found her niche among the Gold Series fillies this season, her most recent finish a second in an elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship.

“He does look like he might be the real McCoy,” speculates Jamieson. “He’s all trot. The question is, can he trot enough? We’re very hopeful. We think he’s got the talent if he goes forward like we hope he will.”

Hibbler and Jamieson face a field of seven in Sunday’s second $20,000 skirmish, with four others coming in off qualifiers, one off an overnight event, one from the Gold Series, and one from the Grassroots season opener. Pembrook Street finished second in the July 16 Grassroots contest at Flamboro Downs and will start from Post 4 on Sunday, while D C Judge finished seventh in his July 15 Gold Elimination at Kawartha Downs and drew Post 6 for his Grassroots debut.

Post time for Clinton Raceway’s Sunday matinee is 1:30 pm, and fans can catch the talented two-year-old trotting colts in Races 4, 5, 11 and 12.

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