Day At The Track

Long drive no problem for Greg Norman team

08:57 AM 19 Mar 2019 NZDT
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The Deal,Harness racing
2019 Rocky Baker Memorial Cup winner The Deal goes across the line
Coffee Photography and Framing photo
Astute Adelaide-based harness racing trainer Greg Norman decided two months ago to target a country cup 500 kilometres away in outback New South Wales – and now he’s already planning to go back again next year.
Norman, based at Two Wells and private trainer for A.B and T. Cormack Racing Pty Ltd, believed his four-year-old gelding The Deal (American Ideal-Tamara Hall (Real Desire) would be perfect for the rich Rocky Baker Memorial Cup at Broken Hill’s Carnival of Cups meeting last Friday night.
“I was aware the track was pretty tight at 605 metres, but despite The Deal being a big horse, I was very confident he would have no problems handling it at all,” Norman said.
And that proved to be the case – although stable followers may have had their hearts in their mouths briefly when The Deal shied at the finish line with one lap to go.
The Deal shifted up the track and a cheer went up from the big crowd because it allowed their home-town pin-up horse (and $1.90 favorite) Bettatobelucky to kick up on the inside.
Bettatobelucky became a joint leader, setting up the prospect of a sentimental win for trainer, local legend Don Pimm, who hasn’t been well of late.
However, The Deal, under hard driving by Jamie Williams, kicked back in the final lap, getting the upper hand to score impressively from Bettatobelucky in a new track record of 2.02-8 for 2500m trip.
“The horse has been going great this year. He scored at Cobram in January and then back home at Globe Derby Park last month and he’s been placed in five of his six other starts,” Norman said.
“We decided to set him for the Broken Hill Cup race because the $14,000 on offer for a C1-C3 class was unreal,” he said.
“We’ve already pencilled in the event for next year, but we’ll just have to see what suitable horses we have at the time.”
Reinsman Jamie Williams made the trip to Broken Hill with one of the part owners Adam Cormack and a friend, but Norman himself missed the meeting due to campaigning a team of three in Victoria.
“But I’ll be making sure I get a seat next trip – they celebrated fairly long into the night and from all accounts they enjoyed themselves the following day at the big St Pat’s Gallops meeting. I was reasonably envious I can tell you!”
Norman has so far had two runners during this Victorian campaign with Belladonna Girl being 5th at Melton and Edwin Bromac finishing 4th at Boort. Three-year-old Cee Cee In America will compete in the opening race at Kilmore on Wednesday night.
“We are chasing Vicbred bonuses with the three of them and how long we stay will obviously depend on their performances,” he said.
Despite missing the Broken Hill trip, Norman had fond memories of a successful hit-and-run mission “about 30 years ago”.
“A friend of mine in Geoff Lehmann lived up there at the time and invited me to drive one of his horses. Geoff worked at the mines and was just a hobby trainer, but I was able to land the money for him with Amber Alto,” he said.
“I do recall the track being small and it’s quite unique nowadays, I guess. But there’s plenty of people who have similar sized circuits that they train on at home.”
Norman said while The Deal found no problems with the Broken Hill track, his half-sister in Cowgirlsnlace didn’t handle it so well.
“She did finish second, but she got on one rein for most of the trip and Jamie told me he had problems steering her. The horse is a midget compared to The Deal, but it just goes to show that size plays no part in how they run on a tight track,” he said.
“I was thrilled to see Jamie land the cup. He’s a great worker at the stables for me.”
Williams was a highly sought-after driver many years ago when John and Lisa Justice had a powerful team going in Adelaide.
“He was their third-string driver,” Norman said.
“When they left to relocate to Victoria, Jamie went out of the game for a while. He recently got his first winner for six years so now with the Broken Hill success we could say he’s on a roll!”

The Broken Hill Cup is presented (L-R) by Jensen Baker (Rocky Baker's son and owner of Carbine Chemicals) to Adam Cormack, owner of The Deal, driver Jamie Williams and stable supporter Brendan Martin    -photo Coffee Photography and Framing, Dubbo
Norman has 14 in work and is enjoying his association with Terry Cormack and his sons Adam and Ben.
Broken Hill president Tracey Robinson said official estimates put the huge cup-night crowd at around 2000.
“But that’s only people through the gates – not children, who get in free, and there were a lot – and not pass-holders and sponsors, so it was a fantastic result,” she said.
“The betting turnovers won’t be known for a couple of weeks, but the betting ring certainly seemed busy.
“It was fantastic to have Harness Racing NSW CEO John Dumesny on course again, as were chairman Rodney Smith and Director Ken Brown.
“We were excited to be able to show them, not just tell them, how vibrant the sport of harness racing is in Broken Hill, how much community support and energy there is around it, and in particular what a fantastic event the cup is.”

Broken Hill Demo Club Pace trophy presentation with (L-R) Amelia Butler (representing sponsor the Broken Hill Democratic Club), HRNSW CEO John Dumesny, Heseversoclever stable representative Christie Rogers and Coral Ford ( Demo Club)      -photo Coffee Photography and Framing, Dubbo

The opening two events at Broken Hill saw female drivers in the limelight with local Cassie Robinson successful on Rapacious (who equalled the track record) for Don Pimm and visiting SA reinswoman Kaela Hryhorec scoring an impressive win on Serene Change, prepared locally by popular Broken Hill trainer Darren McInnes.
American Beau gave Ray “Raz” Slater success in the last race of the night. Frequent Broken Hill visitor, David Vozlic, from Mildura, was successful with Magic In Her Moves. Another Sunraysia trainer in Boris Devcic, made a rare trip to “the Hill” to score an all-the-way win in the $7500 Demo Club Pace with six-year-old gelding Heseversoclever, who scooted over the 1900m trip in a fast 2.00-1.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura


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