JJ Atkins winner Converge will always hold a special place in trainer Adrian Bott’s heart.
The Frankel gelding delivered a group 1 success for Evergreen Stud and his father Tony when he spanked his rivals at Eagle Farm in June, and now he is ready to prove himself the best three-year-old in the country as he starts his classic year in the Run To The Rose at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
Bott has watched Converge develop from the time he arrived in Australia in his mother Conversely’s belly at Evergreen Stud.
“They brought the mare in foal with Converge inside her over in England. He was bred down at the farm, broken in and raised there,” Bott said. “I would go up there and see dad, and we have horses up there spelling, so you are always looking for what is there.
“He was never one that caught the eye at first. He has always been on smaller side, but he has made his mark on the track.”
Converge won on debut at Warwick Farm but wasn’t considered a Golden Slipper type and was aimed for later in the carnival, which has proven a smart move. He was runer-up in the Baillieu and won the Fernhill Stakes in the second-tier autumn two-year-old events before running home into third behind Captivant in the Champagne Stakes.
But it was Brisbane where he blossomed as he charged late and just missed victory in the BRC Sires Produce Stakes before a 3¼ length victory in the JJ Atkins, which left Bott delighted.
“The only thing that was disappointing about that day was that [the owners of Evergreen] couldn’t come out from Hong Kong and dad had to watch from home,” Bott said.
“They are a big part of the story, and you always want to prove yourself and make those people close to you proud.