Day At The Track

Jodi Quinlan's judgement was justified

12:55 PM 16 Jan 2009 NZDT
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Jodi Quinlan's judgement was justified tonight when she was rewarded for her decision to stick with Wideford Hill in the Alabar Echuca Cup. The Parwan reinswoman had the chance to drive other leading contenders Harrys Lass or Mystical Warrior in the $20,000 event, but stuck with the enigmatic Merv Williamson-trained gelding.

And her loyalty was rewarded when the seven-year-old son of Dream Away cruised to an all-the-way win in the 2530-metre standing start feature.

Melton-based Williamson said he could not have been prouder of either horse or driver after tonight's race.

"Jodi's been very loyal to my stable," he said. "She drives all my horses and we've been through thick and thin and come out the other side, so this is fantastic.

"She probably copped a bit of flak, but I'm glad she stuck with the horse because she'd been happy with the way he's been going."

Williamson had good reason to be glad Quinlan stuck with Wideford Hill, as it was a gun front-running drive that laid the foundations for the win.

With favoured duo Awesome Jasper and Harrys Lass ruining their chances when they galloped away from their inside draws, Wideford Hill was able to cruise to the lead from barrier three.

Once they strolled through the first half of the last mile in 62.7 seconds after a slow lead time, the gelding was always going to be the horse to beat.

They upped the ante to 30 seconds for the third split, but Wideford Hill was still able to pull out a slick 27.8-second final section to score a commanding win in a 2:05.3 mile rate.

On the line the $5.40 chance had more than six metres to spare over Barachias ($13) with Mystical Warrior ($11) 2-1/4 metres further back in third spot.

"The moment he began (well) and was allowed to dictate from the front I was very confident, because I knew that he'd been going better than most people thought," Williamson said.

Wideford Hill will now head to next Saturday night's $50,000 Neatline Homes Shepparton Cup where he will be in search of the ballot exemption that will guarantee him a start in the Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley on February 7.

As good as Wideford Hill was, Thepowerofhealing pipped him for the most impressive performance of the nightwith her track record-breaking 2:06.2, 33-metre stroll in the park inthe Moama Electrical Service Trotters Cup.

Brad Bishop

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