Day At The Track

Destreos moves within one of 100

08:35 PM 14 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Destreos in win 99
Destreos in win 99

When the ‘King of the Creek’ Destreos arrived from Queensland in  mid-2017 with owner Sally Stingel and trainer Ken Rattray the question on everyone’s lips was, could the then 13-year-old wonder horse win four more races to become only the third pacer in Australasian harness racing history to reach the magical triple figures.

Friday evening’s narrow victory over Remember Joe in the Longford Equine Clinic Free-For-All in Launceston took Destreos’ career winning tally to 99, the burning question has now moved on to where and when will the historic win will be attempted.

“We are looking at the Free-For-All in Launceston in a fortnight followed by the Toreace Flying Mile as his next couple of assignments”, said a beaming Ken Rattray.

“He’s not quite at the top of his game after missing a fortnight’s work recently so it was great to see him respond the way he did when challenged strongly by Remember Joe.”

Rattray is well aware the eyes of the harness world will be firmly focussed on every move in the lead-up to the tilt at the milestone.

“There is always pressure when you train a horse as popular as Destreos and with the following he has nation-wide but I wouldn’t swap it for the world, it’s a privilege for Sally and I to be associated with such a horse, he’s part of the family, that’s how we treat him, he just loves to race so while he shows us that then that’s what he will continue to do.”

Kent Rattray and John Walters have formed a formidable combination in recent seasons, highlighted by their successes with Riverboat Jasper in the Easter Cup and Timely Sovereign in the Raider Stakes.

The duo appears to have unearthed another potential top-liner after Sunny Sanz took the honours in the $15,000 Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes, the first two-year-old race held throughout Australia for the 2017/18 season.

The Sportswriter – Soho Summer gelding, bred and raced by Nathan and Sandra Bennett of Ringarooma, was easy in the market drifting from $1.55 to $2.35 on the Tasracing Official Price fluctuations while the money flooded in for the Paul Hill prepared Cool Water Paddy, cutting its opening price from $2.25 to $1.70.

Sunny Sanz stepped straight to the front for John Walters in a field of four runners over the 1680-metre trip and strode away from the Ricky Duggan-driven Cool Water Paddy to score effortlessly by 34 metres, rating 2:02.8 for the mile clocking  59.7-seconds for the last half.

However all the action was behind the leading pair, Jardee and Karalta Moondance locked wheels shortly after the start with both Gareth and Barrie Rattray tipped out of the cart.

Barrie was able to hold onto the reins of Jardee and drag himself back into the sulky and complete the course.

Jardee was passing the 800-metre pole when the winner crossed the line but with official margins going on the time taken by an individual runner to complete the race distance the official margin from winner to third was displayed at 1,103.8 metres.

The all-clear was given on the first two placegetters only but later stewards deliberated and ruled that Jardee had legitimately covered the distance of the race and reinstated it to running officially third and ruling connections were eligible for the $2100 third place prizemoney.

Shane Yates for replays sectionals and formguide

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