Anne Hancock agreed with the suggestion that “training horses must be like riding a bike – you never forget,“ but qualified it by adding, “it’s been 11 years since I’ve trained one!”
The comment was offered after her “new” horse made it back-to- back wins, in the space of five days, at last Wednesday’s Bathurst fixture.
King Caractacus NZ ($1.30 favourite) worked forward from his wide draw in the 2130 metres C0/C1 sixth event to find the front after a lap, before running his last half in a touch over a minute to hold off pegs runners Silky Rose and Im No Lady. The mile rate was a comfortable 2:03.2.
Hancock explained that when she moved back to The Lagoon earlier this year, and began working for her brother Steve, she decided to get one to train for herself. After setting Amanda a budget for the purchase, she waited patiently for a couple of months till her niece, who’s a bit of an expert in sourcing horses from the net, came up with this Cullen four-year-old gelding.
She was pleased to be associated with Amanda’s double century win, with her horse, at Young last week. Interestingly, win number 199 had been for her uncle Craig at Cobram the day before that.
Harness racing, as the Turnbulls and many others clearly demonstrate, is a real family affair.
Nathan Hurst became a century-maker for the first time since his schoolboy cricket exploits when he reined The Matrix NZ ($14.60, the night’s longest-priced winner) to an all-the-way win in the R0- R1 final event. The sharp 58.9 last half proved too big a stretch for placegetters ImThe Intimidator NZ and Vienna Eyre NZ.
This was a well-deserved reward for a very hard-working and capable horseman, and his team. Nathan is a very aggressive driver who tries to control races from the front, so it was appropriate his century was achieved in that fashion – a front-footdrive, in cricketing terms.
Amy Day scored a driving double, one of several at Bathurst this season, with one from her own team and the other a “problem child” from Josh Turnbull’s barn.
Modern Admirer ($7.00) ran out an easy winner for the Goulburn trainer-driver in a 2130 metres 3YO Fillies event, leading throughout with a last half of 59.1 to leave death-seating Artista Lombo and pegs runner Mayihaveabiscuit well astern.
Day explained that the filly had been given too soft a time after returning from Melbourne in June, but had been tightened up for this race, which was reflected in her improved performance.
Josh Turnbull and Day combined for a second successive win with Lets Go Diego NZ ($1.60 favourite) in a 2130 metres C 0, the winner just getting over the top of Padabing Stride, which sat outside the lead, and Lawsons Way.
Those have been the only Aussie runs for the Courage four-year- old, who arrived as a two-time winner from N.Z. this time last year but proved to be more than a handful for his Sydney-based connections.
“He’d get to the track, then turn round and head back home, and when in desperation, he was sent to a riding instructor to re- educate him, he’d spin and drop the rider,” was the history his exasperated owners told Turnbull, a noted breaker and educator of young horses.
After a few months re-education, Turnbull returned him to the owners and original trainer in May, but shortly after, the horse returned to his care, and so far, the results have been encouraging. “He’s getting better,” is his trainer’s optimistic view.
SnapTo It (Mick Muscat for his father Bill) justified his $1.50 quote with a highly impressive win from the death seat in the opening event, a C1 sprint. The overall mile rate was 1:59.7 but the last half in 57.6 was the highlight. Star Singer, which led, and trailer Getaloadaher did well to stay in touch with the winner, who’ll travel with the stable to Melbourne for suitable races during the Breeders Crown period.
Is That So ($5.70) showed improvement from recent placings with a good win in a 3R 0 sprint, for trainer-driver Robbie Clifford and co-owners Bill Klower and Ken Plunkett, who secured the American Ideal youngster at the 2012 Gold Crown Sale. In a desperately close three-way finish, he enjoyed the one-one trail throughout, to just get the nod from death-seating Puffnstuff and leader Flightee Deedee.
Scott Hewitt has cut back on his driving commitments a little since he took on the shoeing role for Steve and Josh Turnbull (following Nathan Turnbull’s accident ), but his win with Crackerjack Jo($4.70) for Peter Trevor-Jones in a 2130 metres C2-C3 showed he retains his skill with the reins.
In a race set up by frantic early sectionals, he was content to bide his time four back on the markers, and followed Usher NZ through into the clear turning for home to grab that horse right on the line, with leader Red Vee Hanover holding on for third. Crackerjack Jo responds to just this sort of trip, and his driver judged it perfectly.
Amanda Turnbull completed her driving double at the meeting with her father’s runner Gentleman Red ($1.50 favourite) leading throughout a 2C0-2C1 sprint, from late-closing Miss Rodriguez and Regal Courage, in a 2:01.3 rate.
Spare a thought for Michael Lew, who travelled from Dubbo for the race with his last-start winner Mister Jogalong ( a half-brother to Karloo Mick), only to have him disqualified from the event after causing two false starts. It would have been a long drive home.
Congratulations from everyone at Bathurst to century and double-century makers, Steve and Amanda Turnbull, and Nathan Hurst. A remarkable achievement for the district.