WHAT a fantastic year it’s been for the Moruya Jockey Club, our trainers and their horses, and our jockeys, and the same can be said of the past week when more success came our way as we head towards Christmas.
Let’s start with last Thursday’s meeting at Goulburn, packed to the rafters with city runners as is now the norm, with seven Moruya gallopers making the trip.
It was Chris Hensler’s five-year-old campaigner Jayko who delivered the early Christmas present and stole the limelight when clinging on bravely to win the class one (1400m) event in an extremely tight finish.
Jayko took the lead at the corner and was chased by a wall of horses up the straight but was able to hold off all challengers, particularly Guy Walters’ Warwick Farm-based race-favourite Pillow Talk, by a half-head on the line to bring home the Christmas bacon for Chris.
Young three kilo-claiming apprentice Brodie Loy had the ride on Jayko in this apprentices-only event and timed the run to perfection to the last stride.
Jayko had his hoof on the till with two last-start second placings, first at Moruya on November 24, by a head, and then at Nowra on December 7 by a short head, so it was just rewards for him to claim his second win from 20 starts in tough company.
Our other runners performed admirably but failed to gain a placing in their respective events.
Tim Phillips was back to his dominant best in the saddle at the picnic meeting at Gosford last Saturday where he notched another three wins and a second from his five rides, and continues to have a stranglehold on the picnic circuit.
Tim is not only a great rider but also a great ambassador for Moruya racing and may his success continue unabated.
The next picnic meeting is at Trangie on December 29, where we are all confident Tim will maintain his winning ways.
Matthew Stephens had Domidor continue his South Coast cups preparation at Kembla Grange last Saturday, and he worked home well without placing in solid provincial company over the 1400m.
He’ll be reaching peak fitness as the distances increase over the next few weeks so watch for further improvement from the nine-year-old.
A big welcome to Joseph Ible, a new Moruya trainer based at Broulee who had Run Pat Run as an emergency at Kembla Grange, but didn’t get a run.
He was also scratched from Canberra on Sunday but I note he’s in the noms again for tomorrow’s Kembla meeting. Good luck Joseph if he gets a run and welcome aboard.
Sunday’s meeting at Canberra was certainly the highlight of the past week, where Luke Pepper stole the show with a double.
Free To Air was the first to salute the judge after holding out Rado Boljun’s Star Of Bardell all the way to the line, with Annelise King in the saddle, in the benchmark 65 (1000m) sprint.
Magic Franco then flew home out wide to take out the benchmark 55 (1300m) in a field of 13 at double figure odds.
Greg Backhouse’s pair, Waterviews and Briefcase Benny, both ridden by Roly Saxton, showed enormous improvement in their respective races, placing a close fourth and third respectively.
Seanessy, now back with John Gamble, ran brilliantly in the benchmark 60 (1200m) sprint, leading the field in the straight but getting run down in the shadows of the post, finishing a brave close third at massive odds, paying $16.10 for the place.
Mike Gatty, Luke Pepper and John Marzol have runners at Wagga today and Roly Saxton and James Geppert have riding engagements, while Luke, Greg Backhouse and Chicka Pearson have noms in the mix for Queanbeyan on Sunday.
As this will be the last column for 2012 I wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
A big thank you to all Moruya racing patrons for their massive support during the year at our club of excellence and I look forward to more of the same in the new year.
To all followers, local or holidaymakers, the huge Narooma Cup meeting, our not-to-be missed annual extravaganza, returns to the Moruya Jockey Club on Monday, January 7.
Until next year, good luck and good punting.