TWO starts, two Group 2 placings - Our Uncle Sam has well and truly found his stride for Bathurst trainer Chris Frisby since returning from New Zealand.
The six-year-old did not live up to expectations when campaigning in Auckland for the 2019 Inter Dominion series late last year, but back on Australian soil Our Uncle Sam is showing why trainer Chris Frisby has such a high opinion of him.
Our Uncle Sam's first outing after returning from New Zealand was in Bathurst's Shirley Turnbull Memorial on December 26. He was only beaten 1.6 metres by the Craig Cross trained Alta Orlando in a track record time of 1:55.9 for the Group 2, 2,790 metre event.
Then on Saturday night in the Shepparton Gold Cup - a $60,000 Group 2 race - Our Uncle Sam again placed second.
Beginning from barrier seven, he worked forward able to find the lead entering the home straight on the first occasion.
From there, driver Anthony Frisby looked to back off the tempo over the 2,690m event, but was unable to with the short-priced San Carlo sitting outside Our Uncle Sam, keeping the speed on.
Fighting to the finish, Our Uncle Sam missed out by a narrow head margin.
"We weren't able to get much peace throughout, so I was very happy with his run," Chris Frisby said.
"He kicked back and kept fighting, it's good to see that he has bounced back well from New Zealand."
Frisby will remain at the Craig Turnbull stable in Victoria for about three more weeks, setting his stable star for Saturday night's Group 1 Ballarat Pacing Cup before their next venture - the Hunter Cup on February 1.
"Sam will go in the Ballarat Cup this week, then the Hunter Cup," Frisby said.
"Then we will come home and look at the Miracle Mile, if we can get a run, and then he will go out for a good spell."
READ MORE: Forget New Zealand form, Sam is still a star
Meanwhile stable-mate Jenden Strike is looking to secure a spot in the Victoria Oaks final, set to contest in the heats this Saturday night.
Since returning from a spell, the three-year-old filly has had two starts for two wins, one of which was at Shepparton last Saturday night in the Graham Head Memorial.
Working forward at the start, Jenden Strike had to do it the hard way, sitting outside of the leader throughout.
Proving too strong, Frisby's Betterthancheddar filly held on to win by a neck margin.
"I couldn't have been happier with her run," Frisby said. "I couldn't be happier with all of them."
Frisby's Uncle Jord also made the trip down to Victoria, running fourth in the Barastoc Pace (2nd Heat) the four-year-old earned himself a spot in the final.
Drawing one on the second line, the gelding was positioned awkwardly four-back on the fence with a lap to go.
At the 600 metre mark, Rockin In Memphis galloped disorganising the field, allowing Uncle Jord to work into the clear and run home well, earning himself a spot in Friday night's final at Melton.