I’VE been scratching my head to recall whether in the life of this column Moruya runners and riders have participated in meetings on six days of the past seven.
I’ll start on the Wednesday of last week when the city mid-week meeting was held at Kembla Grange, and that’s where our headline horse, John Gamble’s Seanessy, stepped out in the No-Metro Win Handicap over the mile with young Shaun Gymer in the saddle.
Both of the five-year-old gelding’s lead-up runs were great, first with his half-head at Moruya on Narooma Cup Day (January 7) in the Benchmark 60 event over 1400m, then his three and a half lengths seventh, again at Moruya on Moruya Cup day (January 21) in the benchmark 75 Moruya Town Plate. Those performances had clearly given John the confidence to give him the chance of stepping up to a higher level and he chose last Wednesday’s event to test the waters, and he ran the race of his life on the day at massive odds.
He led the mainly city-stables field all the way to the corner, carrying only 51kg, got caught in the straight by Chris Waller’s Access Code, and then fought back bravely to the line holding back the late challengers to finish a magnificent length second to Access Code, ridden by Jay Ford, claiming second place prize money of $6950 in the process.
A fantastic result for John and Mrs Gamble and I’m delighted to see Seanessy in the nominations for next Tuesday’s Wagga meeting.
On Friday last week, attention then turned to Canberra where five Moruya runners stepped out and both Roly and James Geppert had riding engagements.
Brett Jones’ Macks Cutie, coming off his last-start win at the track two weeks before, ran brilliantly to claim third after almost tailing the field at the turn in the Benchmark 60 (1400m) event, with Luke Pepper’s Magic Franco running on strongly for fourth.
Roly rode a great close third placing on Gratz Vella’s Zaritzie in a later Maiden event.
Our runners took part in two meetings on Saturday, with John Peiti’s border-hopper Halfashot stepping out in the annual Tumbarumba Cup, one of just a few tracks in this state he is able to run at due to his extravagant action, and pleasingly for John and the family he claimed victory by nearly three lengths in the feature event.
What a great story surrounds the exploits of this horse and it was great to see John’s patience and dedication to his horse pay off in trumps, closer to home than usual.
I was pleased to read Dean Benson’s feature on Halfashot’s historic win in Wednesday’s edition of the Bay Post/ Moruya Examiner, filling in the gaps for us all.
James also rode at that meeting, claiming a second placing from just two rides.
The other Saturday meeting of concern to us was at Nowra where John Law’s Moral Magic, ridden beautifully by Roly Saxton, finished a two-lengths second in the Class One (1000m) sprint, with John’s Circuit Spirit claiming fourth. It looked like it was going to a Law Quinella as the pair led up the straight until the swoopers arrived late to separate the pair.
Mike Gatty’s Rushman, also ridden by Roly, ran a great third placing in the Class One mile, and he’s another in the nominations for next Tuesday’s Wagga meeting.
On Sunday Roly rode at the Orange meeting before Monday’s Wagga meeting where James also had rides, including for John Marzol on Grey Drama, who led the field as usual in the Benchmark 70 feature sprint but was collared in the shadows of the post to be relegated to second for another great performance.
James rode Chris Heywood’s promising debut runner Ketchum to an all-the-way victory in the maiden sprint and is certainly one to follow, and he also claimed a second in the last.
The best result from our three runners at Queanbeyan on Tuesday, where both Roly and James had rides, was Greg Backhouse’s Waterviews, who finished fourth in the Maiden mile, and on Wednesday Luke’s Gregory’s Fortress ran strongly but just missed a placing in a very tough Benchmark 75 (1900) race at Canterbury and was far from disgraced. What a week!
Mark Macdonald’s Wilveranj (race seven) and Abishadow (race eight) are among five Moruya runners running at Goulburn today and we’ll have plenty at the annual Braidwood Cup meeting (non-TAB) tomorrow.
Tim Philips will be back in action at the Bedgerebom Picnics tomorrow.
And as well as those already mentioned, Bad Kitty may resume at Wagga on Tuesday.
Until next week, good luck and good punting.