Unbeaten filly Bamako Mali added one of harness racing’s most unusual trophies to Team McCarthy’s burgeoning trophy cabinet with an all-the-way win in tonight’s $50,000 Allied Express Pink Bonnet at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
Fresh from an impressive effort to win on Tuesday to qualify for the Group Two feature, Bamako Mali probably won the race when the mobile let them go.
Reinsman Luke McCarthy took full advantage of Bamako Mali’s enormous gate speed and had little problem holding out her rivals in the run to the first turn, despite pressure from Butterfly Princess, driven by the race sponsor Colin McDowell and Miss Condoleezza (Anthony Butt).
There was no loafing in those early stages of the race either, with a 27.8 first split of the mile before McCarthy was able to back off the speed ever so slightly with a 30.1 second split.
Then it was foot to the floor stuff as this impressive Art Major filly gave none of her rivals a hope, coming home with a last half of 57.7 seconds (29s and 28.7s) to beat Mustang Jet by four and a half metres in a 1:55.6 mile rate with the gutsy Girls Go Racing coming from three back on the markers to grab third for the winning stable.
Part of Bamako Mali’s prize in winning the Pink Bonnet is exactly that, a pink bonnet, which she wasn’t all that keen to wear – but relented in the end.
Trainer Belinda McCarthy gave the credit to her husband Luke for “another great drive” but Bamako Mali will definitely go on to bigger and better things.
Harness Racing New South Wales
ALLIED EXPRESS PINK BONNET (GROUP 2)