The debate about the relative importance of owners and punters – racing’s version of the hen-and-chicken argument – will probably go on for ever, but no-one would ever dispute the thrill and enjoyment of owning a winner.
That’s certainly true for the diverse group which shared the winning spoils at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting.
Just Clooney ($2.30 fav. John O’Shea) was highly impressive in the first, a C0 sprint event, tramping three-wide from the bell to score with something in hand, from William Peter and Feel The Courage, which raced in the running line. The Modern Art three-year-old rated 2:00.7 in scoring his second win from three starts since he began racing just three weeks ago.
He’s raced by the Connolly family, who breed cattle, and these days standardbreds, at Carcoar. His racing name has survived from the one bestowed on him as a very handsome foal, of just “Clooney”. By George, he looks even better now after this latest win.
Trikala ( $2.30 fav Bernie Hewitt) , winner of the second, a C1 class over 2130 metres, raced three back in the running line but launched a big sprint to gain the lead at the 500 metres point, and hold off El Mega, which had followed him wide, and Dashing Deano.
He’s raced by the Oxford Centennials Cricket Syndicate, winners of one of the local premierships last season and keen fundraisers for the Pink Stumps Day each year. Wayne Loader, the driving force behind the syndicate, is the vice-president of Bathurst HRC.
It took stewards more than half an hour before upholding a protest which awarded the third race, a 2130 metres C2-3 class, to Our Southern Belle ($5.80 , Ben Hagney) which appeared likely to overhaul McArdles Chance until losing momentum just short of the line. Leader Beth Shannon held on for third.
Managing part-owner Dave Birrell, a brother-in-law to trainer Steve Conroy, lives at Medlow Bath, mid-way between the Mt Victoria and Springwood bushfires of recent days. It was a tough decision to head to the races, but he was thrilled to see his pride and joy score her first win for the season, and her eighth overall.
Nathan Hurst’s stable maintained its excellent run with a treble in races four, six and seven, by Make Some Magic NZ, Kyalla Luke and Imitate Life. Hurst drove Kyalla Luke himself, while the other two provided Angela Hedges with her second Bathurst double.
Make Some Magic NZ ($10.70), last season’s leading horse in the Carnival of Cups series, raced in the death seat throughout the C4-C7 sprint event, winning by an ever-widening 13 metres margin, from pegs runners Veracity Red and Packnplenty, with a last half of 58.7. The Cullen daughter has now won 19 races and close to $100,000.
That particular milestone was achieved by David and Audrey Mason’s Stature mare Kyalla Mary, dam of Kyalla Luke ( $2.30 fav.), which death-seated throughout in an R1-R2 sprint class to defeat Fire Eclipse and Woodsy James Lombo, in a 2:03 bat.
The thirty-strong Hurst team includes five horses raced by the Masons, long-established breeder-owners from Forbes.
Runner-up in the previous week’s mares’ final at the track but with no Gabrielle Solis to contend with this time, Imitate Life ($3.20) proved too good in a C1-C2 mares sprint, coming out of the trail to overhaul stablemate Express Jet, with Claire Bogan which followed her throughout, getting third spot. Troy Peters has enjoyed six wins now, with the Trump Casino daughter.
Breaking the Hurst sequence, in race five, a 2130 metres 3YO fillies class, was Lettucegrin ($3.90, Kerryann Turner). She sat outside the leader Miss Marg Shannon, which held on for third, while Denise and Jules, which raced three-back in the running line, tried gamely but couldn’t quite match the winner.
The Grin daughter, raced by Kerryann’s original boss and strong stable supporter Paul Kahlefeldt, is now likely to spell, having picked up her 3YO wins, both of them at Bathurst.
Jenny Turnbull, in the middle of a holiday with Steve after a taxing end to last season, took a call from daughter Amanda who phoned to say she’d just bought two horses for her mother, off the internet. Good holiday news or bad?
Highview Conall NZ ($1.10 fav. Amanda) confirmed it as good news, with a second successive Australian win, in the final race at Bathurst, an R 0 sprint. The stylish Cullen four-year-old made a three-wide move to take the lead and looked untroubled in scoring from peg runners Sunnyside Magic and Ultimate Jet. The last half took a comfortable 59.5 seconds.
There mightn’t be any of the over-the-top performing for the camera that is now obligatory at the galloping carnivals, but it’s not hard to spot the mix of satisfaction, pride and, maybe, excitement that comes with winning at the trots.
Winning- you can’t beat it.
Bathurst Harness Racing Club