Track Watch: A great week for Moruya racing

WHAT a pleasure it is to chronicle the past week of racing for Moruya gallopers, the highlight of which was our own meeting at the Moruya Jockey Club on Melbourne Cup Day. 

It was arguably the biggest and best on many counts, with grateful thanks to the several thousand loyal and happy patrons who poured through the gates and of course the weather gods, who smiled upon us. 

Before reviewing the wonderful results for our trainers at our home track on Tuesday, there were two lead-up meetings where Moruya runners stepped out, they being at Tumut on Saturday and Goulburn on Sunday.

Five runners from John Marzol’s and Greg Backhouse’s stables made the trip to Tumut for the five-event non-TAB meeting where John’s Captain Haddock notched another second placing in his three-start career in the maiden plate (1200m), with Greg’s Waterviews coming fourth in the event.

John’s Mineral Deposit claimed a very close third in the benchmark 60 sprint, both Mineral Deposit and Captain Haddock being ridden by James Geppert. 

A quick back-up for Captain Haddock saw him step out at the Nowra meeting on Cup Day where his hoof went from on the till to into it for John and connections – more on that in a moment.

Five Moruya runners also stepped out at the big eight-event TAB meeting at Goulburn last Sunday where they faced big fields with many runners from city stables, as is now the norm with meetings at Goulburn.

What a sensational day it was for Matthew Stephens, who was making his official training debut with both Intimate Kingdom and Olympian previously running under his father Steve’s name. 

Matthew’s Intimate Kingdom, a three-year-old colt with 11 previous starts for a second and third placing, brought about the biggest boilover of the day when holding off all challengers up the straight to take out the maiden (1400m) event at almost $60 for the win, in his first run at the track. 

It was James Geppert in the saddle again after finishing a distant tail-ender at Canberra on October 26, and what a form reversal it was for Matthew on his training debut with his own horse. 

When he took the lead at the turn he never looked like being caught and he went to the line for a half-length maiden victory. Well done on a great outcome to Matt from us all, and may the success continue.

I liked the runs of both of Luke Pepper’s pair, Terminal Five and Gregory’s Fortress, who were both just outside the placings in their respective events but ran on strongly and can be followed when they next step out.

Everyone was over the moon on Cup Day at Moruya where four of the five events went to local trainers despite plenty of visitors contesting all five events on the card. 

The first winner of the day was Lynda Bundy’s Moorings Siren who cruised to the line for a runaway eight lengths victory in the maiden sprint at just her third start, with Neil Perryman aboard. 

Moorings Siren had notched two second placings at her only two previous starts before Lynda gave her a spell and her first-up run on Tuesday was magnificent and she’s one to follow. 

John Peiti’s Our Molly with young Chynna Marston in the saddle finished third.

The Class Two plate (1200m) which followed was the closest finish of the day, with John Marzol’s Joke A Lot, ridden by James Geppert, getting home by a nose over Mark Macdonald’s Sheiz, ridden by Chynna Marston. Chicka Pearson’s Euclid Avenue finished third several lengths back. 

Then it was Luke Pepper’s turn when Total Image, with Neil aboard, held on strongly to take out the maiden plate (1300m) relegating Chynna Marston to another second placing aboard Mike Gatty’s Rush To Judgment with Lynda’s We’d Like To Think in third.

Neil continued on his winning ways when winning the Class Three mile for visitor Joe Cleary ahead of John Marzol’s Have One On Me and John Law’s Four Fortyfour, and capped off a big day when Drama Lodge ran away to a three-length victory in the benchmark 50 (1425m) event ahead of St Benny and Light Magic. 

Riding honours went to Neil with three wins, ahead of James Geppert on two and Chynna Marston with three second and two thirds.

Meanwhile up at Nowra, John Marzol won the first and last race of their five, with Banana Bender and Captain Haddock respectively, and John’s More Than Words claimed third in the third event to round out a big day for the stable.

Mike Gatty’s Bengello was our only runner at Canberra and claimed a close third in the Class Two sprint.

What a great Cup Day for Moruya runners.

As I write, Rachael Backhouse is on her way to Thursday’s Hawkesbury Gold Cup meeting with The Devils Mark and I’m excited by the Moruya nominations for the meetings at Goulburn tomorrow – check your guides for our acceptances.

Until next week, good luck and good punting.

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