Day At The Track

Exceptional debut by Think It Through

02:21 PM 09 Aug 2013 NZST
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Think It Through and trainer-driver John Vautin
Think It Through and trainer-driver John Vautin

Wet, sloppy conditions kept the crowd small but didn’t prevent very competitive racing at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Ash Siejka’s training double, and an exceptional debut by Think It Through, were the highlights.

On debut in a 2YO Fillies class but a very short-priced favourite on the strength of a 2:00 trial win at Young, Think It Through managed the potentially tricky inside draw then sped away in front to open up a gap of at least 50 metres  during the middle stages of the race.

Halfway through the second lap, trainer-driver John Vautin started to shake her up as the huge gap narrowed somewhat, and many in the stand were beginning to wonder if this Vo Rogue-like performance would end in an upset.

They needn’t have worried. Though getting very weary after highballing in front in very slushy conditions, she held on by a mere 19 metres to post the first of what will surely be numerous career victories.  Our Lissome NZ and Most Admired gave Steve Turnbull the minor placings.

The sectional times make interesting reading. After a slow lead time as she found her footing out of the gate, she dashed through the middle 1200 metres in 1:30.0 flat, leaving all her rivals off the bit and gasping for oxygen, before a telling 33.6 final quarter, for a mile rate of 2:03.2 .

A  strapping type very reminiscent of her sire Ponder, the half-sister to Ultimate Art was purchased by  Lester and Linda Hewitt from the Micallef draft  at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale for $8,000 , the day after that year’s Crown winner had easily defeated their runner in a Crown heat .

To paraphrase a familiar expression, they reckoned “ if you can’t beat ‘em,  get one of ‘em. “

John Vautin hasn’t seen much of Bathurst this season, since basing himself at Cowra.

Lester Hewitt is an accomplished trainer in his own right, a clear leader of the UDR Trainers Premiership at Bathurst this season, but he’s supported his former stable driver with this filly, the undoubted star of Toby Vautin’s small team.

For all of them, there’s much to look forward to.

In My Life NZ, the first leg of Ashlee Siejka’s training double, set the pattern for the evening by making a fast move mid-race to the death, and then outstaying favourite Two Striking and the sweet-seating Im No Lady. The last half took 60.4, with the mile rate of 2:04.8 for the 2130 metres  C O event.

Recent Rising Stars placegetter Kylie Barnes handled the driving duties for Siejka’s second winner Nickys Passion NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint class, sitting outside the lead and proving too strong for Miners Lane, which had enjoyed the one-one trail, and  stablemate Stirling William, which had led. The mile rate of 2:02 was very good in the conditions, and the last half was run in a minute flat.

Abercrombie Alice  (Graham Betts for Leon Bennetts) maintained her excellent recent form with another all-the-way win, in a 3CO-3C1 sprint event. Courtesy of a neat piece of driving, and some good fortune, she found the lead around the first bend after coming from barrier 9. Hallycould held on in the death seat for second, with the original occupant of that spot and then trailer, Master Macca, getting the minor placing.

Twenty Three Penny’s winning effort , in a C1 sprint class, was more conventional, with John O’Shea spearing the short-priced favourite straight to the front and controlling the race throughout. She zipped up the back in 28.7 , the night’s fastest quarter, putting the result beyond doubt, and cruised home in 31.0 to defeat  Positive Thinking and Runs On Love, which had followed her on the pegs throughout. The mile rate was 2:04.

It was the seventh lifetime win for the Blissfull Hall mare, which will join the nice broodmare band put together by keen Carcoar-based breeders Ray and Peter Connolly.

Long Cool Woman brought up win 191 and 189 respectively for her driver and trainer, Amanda and Steve Turnbull, in a 3C O sprint event. She worked to the death seat mid-race and outstayed Aunty Olive,which raced wide for the last lap, and favourite Gabrielle Solis NZ, three-back in the running line . The mile rate was only 2:04.6, but the last half of 59.8 was good on the night.

Franco Talon NZ (Amy Day for Garrett Newton) made up for the pair’s second in the opening race by taking out an R2-R3 middle-distance class. Last early before coming three-wide from the bell, the favourite  had a bit in hand to defeat the death-seater Rowan Royal and Ihitthegroundrunning NZ, from the one-one.The overall rate was just 2:05.8, with the last half in 60.1 .

Western Burner found the by-now coveted spot outside the leader in the final race, an R0-R1 over 2130 metres, and naturally he won, for Scott Hewitt and trainer-father David. Happy Camper came three-wide from the bell for second, with Jerula’s Mate which had the one –one trail, holding on for third. The times were moderate but the winning margin of 17 metres suggests a repeat win can be expected.

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