Day At The Track

Major Occasion is in good form

07:13 PM 11 Mar 2018 NZDT
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Major Occasion, harness racing
Anthony Frisby drove Major Occasion to victory in Saturday's Young Oaks, adding to her Wagga Oaks win earlier in the month. She will now target Bathurst's Gold Bracelet series.
Anya Whitelaw Photo

She began the month with a win in the Wagga Oaks, took out the Young Oaks on Saturday and now Major Occasion will be aimed at the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Gold Bracelet series.

A member of Bathurst trainer Chris Frisby’s team, Major Occasion has been in good touch so far this season with four wins and a second placing from seven starts.

It is form Frisby hopes his three-year-old filly by Art Major out of Fake Occasion can build on come the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival later this month.

“She’s always been fairly tough, well she’s gotten tougher. She’s a lovely, big, strong mare,” he said.

“She’s won her last two starts now and hopefully she can win her next two in the Gold Bracelet.”

While Major Occasion’s win in the Wagga Oaks came in convincing fashion, finishing 26.8 metres clear of her nearest rival, on Saturday night in the Young Oaks (2,100m) things were much closer.

Going from barrier nine, driver Anthony Frisby worked Major Occasion ($3.90) three wide before settling outside leader and $1.60 favourite War Dan Bad Girl (Amanda Turnbull).

That pair battled it out to the post, with Major Occasion getting the nod by a half head. She clocked a 28.5 seconds split for the final quarter of the last mile.

Third place, a further 1.9m back, was Paul Fitzpatrick’s Prophesy ($7.10) – a horse which Chris Frisby thought at one stage could have swooped to victory.

“Geeze it frightened me, I thought we got beat,” Frisby admitted.

“I looked at the wheels of Amanda’s [runner] and while her wheel was a little bit in front, I knew we were longer and I was just hoping we got there. We did so yeah, that was good.

“She’s done a good job and the last two runs haven’t been easy either, she’s sat in the death seat, but that’s what she likes to do.

“Amanda’s is a good horse and she didn’t lie down either, she was tough to beat. That one of the Fitzpatrick’s as well, I thought it was going to be tough to beat too. It sat on our back while Amanda and me did all the work.”

While Major Occasion’s efforts at Wagga and Young will make her one to watch come the Gold Bracelet heats, her trainer also feels with some better luck, his filly could have made the rich NSW Oaks final as well.

She ran last in her heat, but had been in a position to challenge for a win after galloping out of the barriers. Major Occasion recovered from that incident to be one out and three back at the 400m mark, but was checked and galloped once more.

“She was a bit unlucky in the NSW Oaks ... I thought she was going to run a place as she was going that strong,” Frisby said.

By Anya Whitelaw

Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate


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