Day At The Track

Dubbo's James Sutton wins at home track

01:00 AM 30 Jul 2019 NZST
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James Sutton and Yarraman Bella
James Sutton and Yarraman Bella cruise to victory late on in the first event at Dubbo on Sunday.
Coffee Photography

With not many drives coming his way of late, harness racing driver James Sutton is eager to make the most of any chance he gets at the moment.

He did exactly that on Sunday at Dubbo Paceway, and his win with Yarraman Bella was even more special than most.

The two-year-old filly is one the Dubbo trainer-driver bought himself at the Bathurst yearling sales last year and is the first horse he's done all the work with himself in order to get to the track.

She showed promise without placing when building her fitness in the first two starts of her career, but led from start to finish on Sunday when winning the Harness Racing NSW Guaranteed Two Year Old Pace (2120m).

"She's the first yearling I've bought. I went there (to Bathurst) to buy one but ended up buying two," Sutton said,

"It's the first horse I've done everything with from scratch and it makes it much more enjoyable to win.

"Young horses can be tricky to work with but what I'm doing must be working."

The win may have come in Yarraman Bella's third career start, but it had been some time in the making.

Sutton first tested the filly in a trial at his home track in January, and while she finished first when racing many older horses that day she didn't come through unscathed.

A muscle issue in one of her shoulders saw her sent to the paddock for four months and Sutton was eager to praise the work done by the Tophut Equine Centre as Yarraman Bella built strength in the water walker facility there.

It showed on Sunday, in a longer event than many other two-year-old races, as Yarraman Bella got to the lead quickly from barrier one and controlled proceedings throughout.

Backed from $13 into $4.40 pre-race, Sutton's hope used the inside to her advantage as she took the lead early ahead of $2.90 favourite Mammals Prince.

WINNING FEELING: James Sutton (left) feels Yarraman Bella is a horse with "plenty of upside". Photo: COFFEE PHOTOGRAPHY

 WINNING FEELING: James Sutton (left) feels Yarraman Bella is a horse with "plenty of upside".  COFFEE PHOTOGRAPHY


Mammals Prince, driven by Mat Rue, settled third on the outside early on after She Owns The Day ($3.30) pushed up along the pegs to trail the leader.

The order barely changed before the final lap, where The Donny ($7) made a brief charge on the outside before dropping out of contention again.

Sutton, in his only drive for the day, led into the turn for home and after taking a good look over his shoulder controlled the race still before motoring home late to secure the win in a mile-rate of 2:04:07.

"Two-year-old's don't often race over that distance," Sutton said.

"I knew they'd let me go pretty slow up-front and then I quickened it up and was able to hold the favourite on my back.

"I didn't really let go until the final 20 (metres) so she had plenty in the tank."

Yarraman Bella won by 3.6m from the Katie Jenner-trained She Owns The Day while Stilton ($8.50) finished strong down the outside to come home third for trainer-driver Malcolm Hutchings.

Sutton said a trip to Victoria is on the cards for Yarraman Bella, with the bonuses on offer for two-year-olds south of the border.

But he added the filly is still battling a minor sinus issue that will need to be treated before any trip.

By Nick Guthrie

Reprinted with permission of the Daily Liberal

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