BEFORE reviewing last week’s racing for Moruya runners, let me first congratulate Jan Carter and her committee for their efforts in restoring the Eurobodalla Hack and Stock Horse Show to life after a break of more than a decade.
The show will be conducted at the Moruya Showground on Saturday and promises to be the first of many after a long lay-off, particularly if Jan’s organisational skills have anything to do with it.
Also let me congratulate John Marzol and connections for the South East Racing Association’s Horse of the Year award taken, out by Bad Kitty for the 2011-2012 racing season.
This outstanding award on the regional level is a great recognition of John’s work, Kitty’s terrific performances and the strength of Moruya racing, and may Kitty continue on the upward spiral as her career unfolds.
I may be mistaken, and will happily stand corrected in saying the last Moruya horse to win this prestigious award was Ancient Song a decade ago.
Don’t start me on about Ancient Song, the one horse that was primarily responsible for the introduction of this column 10 years ago and who, in my opinion, was the best horse ever to call the Moruya track her home.
Rado Boljun, then located at Moruya, was of course her trainer.
After the dust settled on our own fabulous Melbourne Cup Day meeting at the Moruya Jockey Club last week, Moruya runners played their part at Thursday’s Hawkesbury provincial meeting, at Goulburn on Saturday and at Queanbeyan on Tuesday.
First off the rank was Rachel Backhouse’s The Devils Mark, who took out the Mollymook Cup on October 21 in scintillating style, and who lined up in the benchmark 65 (1200m) event at Hawkesbury.
However, the wide gate kept him out wide for most of the race and he was unable to reproduce his Bernborough-like finish when it counted, finishing unplaced.
Don’t give up on him on the strength of that run and I’m sure he’ll bounce back with another shortly.
It was Goulburn on Saturday that our headline horse emerged, that being John Marzol’s locally-owned Grey Drama, who produced a magnificent, calm run under James Geppert’s steering to take out the benchmark 60 (1000m) sprint by an easing five lengths margin.
A favourable inside gate assisted Grey Drama’s running style and he booted clear at the turn and went to the line unchallenged at his first run back from a spell.
He’s built a great record in his short career, now having had 11 runs for five wins, two seconds and a third with Saturday’s win taking him past the $50,000 mark in prize money.
Brett Jones’ Macks Cutie also ran in that event, ridden by Neil Perryman, but finished unplaced at her first run returning from a spell.
Lynda Bundy’s Moorings Magic also ran first-up from a spell in the class one sprint but was put off her game at the outset when suffering lots of rough-house tactics and never seemed to recover from that melee, finishing unplaced. Forget the run.
Neil also rode Luke Pepper’s pair Cool In Grey and Not On Monday in their respective events, both finishing midfield in strong maximum-sized fields.
Four Moruya runners made the trip to Queanbeyan on Tuesday, and I was delighted by the run of Kevin Cassidy’s Goodlookinrooster, who finished strongly for fourth in the three-year-old maiden sprint, first up from a spell.
He showed promise in his first three runs before the break without placing, and his return was full of merit and he’ll be further improved by the outing.
That was only his fourth career run, and a good one in decent company.
Chris Hensler’s Jayko looked the winner halfway up the straight in the class two (1460m) event but got swamped late by race favourite Lauries Love and others to be relegated to fifth.
It was Matthew Stephens’ Intimate Kingdom who flew home late to claim a close fourth in the event, just nosing out Jayko.
The iconic annual Bong Bong Picnic Cup was run on Wednesday, where Tim Philips rode the winners of the first two races, and our only runner on the day, Bernie Connell’s Ivatreati, won the class B sprint, Bernie’s patience finally paying off.
Moruya runners are in the noms for Gundagai and Adaminaby on Saturday and Canberra on Sunday.
Don’t forget it’s Afflick Race Day on Saturday week at Moruya, being our last race meeting before Christmas – more on that next week.
Until next week, good luck and good punting.