Bruce Harpley is no stranger to success at Bathurst, especially in recent times with star mare Frith. But even Bruce must have felt more than a touch of déjà vu at last Wednesday’s meeting, when he won Tabcorp Menangle Where Horses Fly Country Series heats in successive races.
The wins were achieved in similar up-front fashion, with a look- alike pair of four-year-olds, and the race presentation photos demonstrate a remarkable similarity. If it weren’t for differentsaddlecloth numbers, you’d swear you were trapped in “Groundhog Day”.
Justanotherslippa ($3.90) led throughout in race two, the C0 heat, slipping home in 60.4 for an overall rate of 2:02.1, from trailer Saint Dal Santo and Paddy Carmody, which came three-wide over the final lap in a tough display.
It was the first win in twelve starts for the Modern Art gelding, after several promising placings earlier this term, and his trainer-driver is hoping he’s turned the corner.
Sokys Bigbullet ($1.60 favourite) completed Harpley’s double in race three, the C1 heat, after coming from outside the front to race behind Prince Raymac. Once clear of the trail, he raced away for the night’s biggest margin of 17 metres, with a 58.4 last half. Prince Raymac and one-one runner Grouse Party House filled the places. The mile-rate was an impressive 1:59.9.
The winner, also a Modern Art gelding, was one of the state’s better three-year-olds last season, but health issues have resulted in more moderate form this season, this being just his second win.
His trainer will be hoping that he, too, has turned the corner.
Following this presentation -that’s the one featuring the number seven runner-Harpley paid tribute to the Menangle Where Horses Fly series, for giving country connections the opportunity to race for $10,000 heats and a $25,000 final. He’ll be hoping to grab a bigshare of that when his horses line up in the finals on Saturday night.
Harpley is a very popular figure at Bathurst, and likely to be even more so in the future, after his thanks to a club he rates as “the best run club anywhere in Australia.”
Steve and Amanda Turnbull book-ended the meeting,nudging even closer to their season goal of 200 winners each.
Written In Red ($2.20 favourite) sat outside leader Trikala in the opening race, a 2130 metres C1, overcoming that leader after a torrid 27.9 quarter up the back and then holding off runner-up Snap To It, which sustained a wide run over the last lap.
The win took the Cullen three-year-old past $50,000 in stakes, which might well be increased after he lines up in Sunday’s Breeders Challenge Regional Final at Young. After that, he’ll be off for a spell, and when he returns to racing, it will be as a gelding,his owner Rob Davis agreeing to allow that unkindest cut which will hopefully produce a better attitude and racing manners.
In the 2130 metres 3RO last race, Monicas Magic ($4.80) was also forced to race outside the lead, and the Western Edition filly raced by good Turnbull client Reg Walsh dictated terms from there, registering a slow 2:05.2 rate to hold on clearly from Our Castanea, which followed it throughout, and leader Flightee Deedee.
That was win number 198 for Amanda, who achieved the double ton with wins at Cobram the following day and Young two dayslater (as part of a treble). Bathurst HRC is naturally disappointed that this achievement, and the even more special one thousand career wins, have been away from “home”, but warmly congratulates Amanda on a wonderful feat, which will be celebrated at the annual Awards Presentation later in the year.
Platinum Roulette ($2.10 favourite, Ashlee Siejka) appreciated the solid pace set by the pulling Veracity Red in the 1730 metres C4- C6, to outsprint his rivals, with a last half in 58.9 and an overall rate a tick over two minutes. Crackerjack Jo and Veracity Red, which looked as if it would drop out at one stage, filled the minor places.
In Runaway Bay ($1.90 favourite, Bill/Mick Muscat) worked his way to the lead in a C0 sprint, and a last half in 57.9 gave death- seater Padabing Stride, and trailer Embellished, the other fancied runners, no chance over the final stages.
The winner, a son of a champion N.Z. filly in Pullover Brown,continued the excellent strike rate of the Muscat stable in recent months at Bathurst.
Dubbo trainer Peter Gavin and Menangle driver Kerryann Turner partnered in another double at this meeting, such a special one that it’s worth keeping for last!
Karloo Ten Seventy ($1.30 favourite) worked his way to the lead and ran away from his rivals by an ever-widening 14 metres in a 2130 metres 3C0-3C1, from pegs runner Puffnstuff and death- seating Kenny Cracker.
Raced by Ronnie Lew, the winner is named for husband Barry Lew’s late father Peter, a sergeant in the NSW Police Service who passed away in 2012. “Sarge” carries Peter’s official police number 1070 (which the Lew family was granted by the Police Commisioner, a rare gesture) on the brow piece of his bridle.
Everywhere the smart Art Major gelding goes in his races, Peter Lew leads the way!
Two races later, Deanne Gavin’s two-year-old gelding scored hissecond win in just four starts, coming with a big sprint from the top of the straight to overpower leader Jethros An Eagle and hot favourite Itz Platinum Plus NZ, in the 2130 metres 2C0-2C1 event.
The leaders quickened for a 58.6 last half, adding further merit to the win.
Peter Gavin, a neighbor of the Lews, always looked after their farm when they travelled with Karloo Mick, and won a Dubbo race with Karloo Malibu, which they’d gifted him. He then bred her in 2010 to first-season sire Art Colony, getting a colt foal the following year.Karloo Malibu died without having another foal, while the sire Art Colony died after just his second year at stud.
The progeny of that mating looks like he might be a very good horse, and like every good horse, he carries a good name, as The Only Child.
By Terry Neil