Day At The Track

Hewitt leading the charge

06:56 PM 05 Dec 2017 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Hez All Courage winning at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway.
Hez All Courage winning at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway.

Harness racing trainer Bernie Hewitt holds a strong hand in this year’s Soldiers Saddle Series, after the bold showing by his stable in last Wednesday’s heats at Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway.

Hewitt trained two of the three heat winners, driving one of those himself, and got a quinella result in both races for good measure. In all, he qualified seven runners plus a first emergency for this week’s semi-finals.

With the centenary re-enactment of the famous Light Horse Brigade charge at Beersheba still fresh in our minds, one of the Hewitt heat winners Hez All Courage could well be the topical tip for the Bathurst RSL- sponsored series.

The Courage Under Fire gelding, first up after the Breeders Challenge Three-Year-Old Regional Final in July, slotted into the one-one trail for Anthony Frisby, who was able to bide his time until turning in, and the combination charged down the centre of the track for a convincing win.

In relegating the leader I'm With Lexy, for Hewitt, into second place, the combination rated a commendable 1:56.3 for the 1730 metres, with final quarters in 27.5 and 28.4 seconds.

It was another quinella for the stable in the final heat, but this time Hewitt drove the winner, Little Bit Dusty, coming away from a pegs trail to overhaul the death-seating Taylor's Reason (son Doug Hewitt) close to the line.

This heat, too, was no place for the faint-hearted, with the speed building up to final quarters of 28.2 and 28.3 seconds and a 1:56.8 mile rate.

Hewitt has done a fine job with the winner, taking plenty of time to sort out his erratic running. After lots and lots of re-shoeing, a number of changes to his gear and four trips to the trials, the five-year-old is undeserving of that name, with two wins now from three runs for the stable.

As impressive as those later winners proved to be, the standout performance came in the opening heat, taken out by Redbelly Jack for Londonderry father-son combination Michael and Nathan Xuereb.

Nathan settled the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding at the tail of the field before commencing a three-wide move on entering the back straight. He showed blistering speed to clear the field in a 27.0 seconds third quarter, opening up a big break round the turn and showing resolute determination to hold on strongly for a 13 metres margin back to Dream To Share, in a 1:54.9 mile rate.

His driver later explained that his original intention had been to park in the death seat, but the horse was feeling so good when he got there that he decided to let him loose.

It was some run, brave for both horse and driver, and very much in keeping with the spirit of the night.

Other winners at the meeting:

Spare The Price (Amy Rees for Chris Frisby), an easy win in the C1-C3 opener, leading throughout and the 1:56.5 mile rate setting the standard for very slick times all evening.

Sabrage NZ (Steve Turnbull), all-the-way in a C4-C7 sprint, Steve outsmarting this moody customer by not holding him up till the turn and instead letting him run freely, the 27.4 seconds third quarter setting up the 1:56.4 win.

Double Event, 1:56.3 in the fast-class sprint, for the Menangle duo of David Morris and Harry Martin, the ownership trio of Gadsby, Lockwood and Martin reviving memories of Harry’s wonderful champ Double Identity. This bloke might not be that good, but it was a gutsy win.

Switowski, the second leg of a training double for Steve Turnbull, with Mitch Turnbull leading throughout in the first division of the C0 sprint, and another to put the foot down along the back, with a 27.7 seconds third quarter.

Always Mysterious, all-the-way in the second C0 division, for another father-son combination in David and Justin Reynolds, the second successive win for the Always A Virgin mare since resuming from a year-long break, and the eighth win for her modest driver.

Aphorism (Anthony Frisby for Ben Settree), leading throughout the Kevin & Kay Seymour Evolution Series heat, bringing up a driving double for Frisby and a successive wins for the cleverly-named youngster whose dam is a half to Caribbean Blaster.

Semi-Finals of the Soldiers Saddle take place at Gold Crown Paceway this Wednesday night, with the $15,000 Final the highlight on Friday week, December 15, to honour the Anzac Light Horse Brigade.

Terry Neil

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: