Day At The Track

Amanda Turnbull wins Elvis Championship

02:50 PM 11 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Amanda Turnbull, harness racing
Amanda Turnbull won the Elvis Championship for the second time in her driving career on Wednesday night.
Anya Whitelaw Photo

“She's going to leave them all crying at the chapel”. That statement from harness racing race caller Craig Easey as he watched Tintin Naturally power down the home straight in the Elvis Championships Final (2,040 metres) on Wednesday might have been a little cringe-worthy, but the winning run was anything but.

The Amanda Turnbull trained and driven $1.30 favourite led from start to finish in the annual Parkes Harness Racing Club feature.

The five-year-old Tintin In America x Natural Hanover mare was rated nicely in front then kicked away from her rivals after turning for home, finishing 7.3m clear of second placed Reverse Psychology (Nathan Turnbull, $41).

Easey, a man known for his entertaining calls across the Western Districts, embraced the spirit of the meeting which is part of Parkes’ Elvis Festival.

As they ran down the back straight for the first time he quipped “They’re picking up their blue suede hooves and putting them down nicely” and later as contenders jostled behind the favourite he came out with “It’s now or never as they race down the back, Tintin Naturally out in front.”

But the puns aside, Easey’s observations were spot on.

Tintin Naturally got away well from barrier one to lead and travelled nicely throughout. A 52.2 first half of the last mile meant she was poised for a strong finish and she produced. 

It was her fourth win from her last five starts.

Wednesday night marked the fifth time Turnbull had lined up for a drive in the Elvis Championship Final, a race which first featured on the Parkes program in 2013.

Turnbull placed third in that inaugural final aboard the $3 favourite Our Buller Boy and in the two years which followed, was off the pace with a 10th (Whispering Lass) and ninth (Cullectomatic).

In 2017 the talented The Lagoon trainer-driver finally added an Elvis victory to her long list of feature race successes, Greenngold getting the job done for her as the $2 favourite.

Turnbull did not get the chance to go back-to-back, not qualifying a finalist for the 2018 edition, but on Wednesday Tintin Naturally showed exactly why he held favouritism.

While that feature win was the highlight of the meeting for Turnbull, it was not her only success.

She took out the opening race of the evening, a Club Menangle Where Horses Fly Heat (1,660m) aboard My Secret Beach ($1.30 favourite).

Turnbull then made it a winning treble for the meeting as Mach Le More ($1.40 favourite) won an Evolution Series Three Year Old Colts and Geldings Heat (1,660m).

By Anya Whitelaw

Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

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