Day At The Track

Save the last dance for Josh

01:55 PM 20 Nov 2018 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
rsz_14976.jpg
All smiles . . . connections of Kriden Park Drivers Invitational winner Royal Story.

THE major prize was headed back down the mountains to Menangle at the conclusion of a very successful TAB Carnival of Cups meeting at the Blayney on Sunday.

Junior reinsman Josh Gallagher steered the KerryAnn Turner-trained race favourite Dance For Glory to a strong win in the feature event, the Billy Soo Memorial Blayney Cup.

After some wretched luck for the stable’s two earlier runners, Gallagher took luck out of the equation in the 2400m feature when he came around the field to take the lead at the mile mark, and dictated terms thereafter to score the win.

Ned Pepper, well positioned in the one-one throughout, ran home strongly but was well held by the winner, with early leader Master Benny holding on for the minor placing. The  mile rate of 2:02.8 established a new record.

The race honours the memory of a much-loved character who made famous the local Chinese restaurant - still operating today - as “ the best in the Golden West”, and far beyond, and his widow Jill was on hand to present the Cup to Josh Gallagher, representing the owner.

Bernie Hewitt has been coming to Blayney for many years now, from the Crookwell farm originally and from a much-closer Bathurst since his move there almost 20 years ago, and he had one of his most enjoyable visits with a driving treble and a fourth training win at Sunday’s meeting.

His driving wins came courtesy of We Salute You, a strong death-seat effort in the 3C0-3C1 opener, and brilliant first-up performances in the later Menangle Country Series sprints from Scarlet Babe and Mackeral.

Scarlet Babe led throughout in the C0 sprint, her mile rate of 1:57.3 erasing the previous track record establshed four years ago. Hewitt believes the daughter of champion mare Ashlees Babe will mature into a serious race horse by the end of this season.

Mackeral came from behind with a very strong finish to take the C1-C2 sprint, rating just one-tenth of a second slower than his stablemate, and the four-year-old McArdle gelding, whose last campaign included close up places behind Ignatius, looks to have returned bigger and better than ever.

Hewitt then completed his training quartet when Mitch Turnbull scored with Royal Story in the C5+ Kriden Park Drivers Invitational, charging the Blacks A Fake relation out of the gate and dictating terms for an authoritative win.

Mitch had only just returned from a trip to the New Zealand Cup carnival, where he’d seen Natalie Rasmussen, Blackie’s trainer-driver, take out the Cup with the latest Purdon star The Fixer.

Perhaps that might have been seen as some sort of omen, or could it have been the recent visit from Harry and Megan? There are omens all over the place if we want to go searching for them, but whatever their worth, Royal Story was the best-performed runner in the field and a deserved favourite.

Angela Hedges charged home with Smithstars Lexus, and John O’Shea trailed the leader throughout with Two Ply NZ, and the males finished slightly ahead of their female rivals in the accompanying pointscore from the race.

Amanda Turnbull took a driving double, with first leg Big Heart leading for most of the way in a 2000 metres C0-C2 race and hanging on from an equally-tired runner-up The Restauranteur in a slogging 31.3 closing quarter of the 2000 event.

The final of the C0-C1 Peter Marshall Memorial proved to be a much easier assignment, when favourite My Secret Beach continued his recent improvement by leading, maintaining a solid speed throughout and holding on strongly to defeat Brads Luck, which raced outside the winner throughout in a good effort.

Lucky To Make took out the 2000 metres C0-C2 third race, which had more than its fair share of drama. Two false starts resulted in the disqualification of pole-marker Dreaming Gypsy, and a last-lap mix up put paid to the chances of most of the field, leaving Nathan Hurst way out in front and quite oblivious to the shambles behind him.

Recent good form suggested that the Safari mare would have been hard to beat in any case, but Hursty was naturally pleased to get the win, whatever the circumstances, and quick to appreciate the irony of the name.

Racing Minister and local member, Paul Toole,  and Blayney Mayor Scott Ferguson both got to see the action alongside the starter in the back of the mobile, and came away full of admiration for the skill of the drivers and the power of their horses. It’s the best seat in town, they reckon.


TERRY NEIL

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: