I AM sure you will all forgive me this week for headlining the column with a non-equine racing reference but I believe it’s deserving of the acknowledgement and praise in any sporting forum, and for me will be the highlight performance of this year’s Games.
Sally Pearson set an Olympic record for the 100m hurdles in the process, establishing her as the best female hurdler in athletic history – congratulations on the ultimate achievement and thank you from the entire Australian sporting community.
Now back to earth with a review of the past week’s racing for our Moruya gallopers, and once again our trainers have covered many miles in many directions in their endeavours.
I’ll start with last Friday’s Canberra meeting, run on the synthetic track.
Peter Afflick had Peekay and Worpali stepping out at the scene of their last-start win and second placing respectively.
Peekay lined up in the opening Benchmark 65 sprint and was up against Keith Dryden’s Dab Touch, who finished a nose second behind Peekay on July 20 and it was the pair who fought it out again to the line.
This time it was Dab Touch who got the decision by a short neck.
Worpali lined up in the Benchmark 55 sprint and settled comfortably just behind the leaders near the fence.
The little mare spent most of the straight trying to get out for a clear run home, which eventually came too late.
She finished a very strong third nevertheless in what was another great performance under the circumstances. Peter’s got both horses running in fine fettle and I’ll be watching out for their next assignments.
I loved the run of John Law’s Moral Magic in the Class two sprint and it had “follow me next time” written all over it.
Goulburn-based Arianna Soul was the tearaway leader with John Nisbet’s race favourite Material Matters and Moral Magic matching motors in the chase, well ahead of the rest of the field.
Both just failed to catch the leader at the line with Moral Magic holding onto a very promising close third.
John has Moral Magic in the nominations for the Sapphire Coast on Sunday and I’m sure he’ll be prominent if he runs.
Attention on Saturday turned to the provincial meeting at Kembla Grange and to the Victorian meeting at Traralgon.
Our two runners at Kembla were Greg Backhouse’s Grager and Luke Pepper’s Freetoair and it was Grager who gets the “run of the week” award for his brilliant three-quarter length second in the Benchmark 65 (1400m).
Grager and eventual winner, Gosford-based Loaded, were at the tail of the field at the turn and widest out, and they both ran down the entire field in the straight to go away and fight out the finish.
Loaded got the decision just ahead of Grager with a further three lengths back to the third home.
Jeff Penza had the ride on Grager, and he’s now recorded two close seconds from his past two starts, both at Kembla against good city and provincial horses – well done Greg.
Unfortunately Luke’s Freetoair finished mid-field in a very strong Benchmark 70 sprint.
After riding at Wyong on Thursday, where she recorded an unexpected fourth place on L’academe De Joie, Jessie Whipp had two rides at Kembla but was unplaced in both.
Her mount in the last almost caused serious havoc when laying in twice on Lauri Wray’s horse, pushing it onto the fence and it was very lucky that both ladies stayed in the saddle.
Jessie was exonerated by the stewards, who stated she had done everything possible to avoid the clash.
Also on Saturday, John Peiti made the trip south of the border once again to Traralgon for Halfashot’s return to racing.
He ran strongly under top weight to finish just behind the placegetters, and with a little luck in running would have been much closer at the finish.
John Marzol’s Our Billy Blue ran his best race of the campaign when finishing a brilliant half-length second in the feature Forbes Cup on Monday and shows continued improvement with each run.
Finally, at Goulburn on Tuesday, Lynda Bundy’s Moorings Royal, with Neil Perryman aboard, was unable to reproduce his last-start victory at the track, finishing well back under top weight in the Benchmark 64 mile.
John Marzol’s has Ingleside is running at Wagga today (race three) and should be prominent in the finish, while on Sunday all roads lead to the Sapphire Coast track for its first meeting of the 2012-2013 season – check your guides for the Moruya runners.
Until next week, good luck and good punting.