By Rod Fuller
Following a riding double at Coffs Harbour on Melbourne Cup day and success at Grafton aboard Lucky Meteor the following day, promising apprentice Olivia Pickering lifted I’m Danny off the canvas to score in the Schweppes Showcase feature at Port Macquarie.
Despite being clearly headed by the Jenny Graham-trained gelding, Portatorio, Pickering was able to kick back along the rails aboard I’m Danny to land the prize by a long head. Wyong trainer, Ken Tynan puts the polish on the veteran gelding who races with great success at the Port circuit having now won four from seven with two minor placings. Portatorio ran his usual honest race while the race favourite, Prince Mayted, was well positioned early before labouring over the concluding stages.
A good crowd witnessed competitive racing under fine skies with the soft track looking a picture and allowing winners to come from all positions. The additional showcase prizemoney of $250,000 supported by Racing NSW was evenly shared between local and visiting connections throughout the day.
Riding honours went to Josh Adams with a double while Bastia was responsible for the win of the day scoring by just over four lengths in the second last event. At the conclusion of racing, Ben Looker retains the lead in the Mid North Coast Jockey’s Premiership with 12 wins over the injured Cejay Graham on 10 and Josh Adams with 9. The current leader in the trainer’s title is Kris Lees on 13 victories from Ross Stitt on 9 and Paul Perry with 8.
Race 1 (Hungry Workers Cafe Maiden Hcp, 1500m): Saint Denis was sent out the heavily-supported favourite in the opening event, but was no match for the finishing burst of the flashy chestnut, Eyota. Amare took the early lead from Galaxy Jack and Benfica Bay with the John Sprague-trained galloper, St Denis, settling midfield one off the rails and Eyota a conspicuous last. The speed became muddling and Robert Thompson took the initiative on Tangara Express to kick clear as heads turned for home. With a paralysing burst from the rear of the field, Serg Lisnyy made his move aboard the Damien Lane-trained gelding, Eyota to finish all over his rivals for an impressive victory. Galaxy Jack battled on well for second over Tangara Express with Golden Words running an even race without threatening and Saint Denis finishing sixth after a relatively good run in transit.
Race 2 (Flynns Beach Takeaway Maiden Hcp, 1000m): The Tracey Bartley-trained filly, Arrossire, was able to take the prize in a busy finish over Our Trolley Dolly and Robyn Lucy. In pre-race news, Swift Charger was declared a late scratching after failing to load into the barriers. With Velvet Brown and Usainly setting the early speed in the lead, Grant Buckley was allowed to position the favourite, Arrossire, perfectly just behind the pacemakers. Upon straightening, Buckley made his move and darted the Magic Albert filly to the lead over Usainly with the Neil Godbolt runners, Our Trolley Dolly and Real Son Of A Gun flashing home out wide. Arrossire was able to hold on to win by a short head over Our Trolley Dolly with Robynlucy a long neck away in third place.
Race 3 (Blairs Newsagency Port Macquarie Country Maiden Plate, 1200m): With the benefit of a debut fourth on heavy ground at Tuncurry, Mister Smartee was sent out firm favourite for the event and duly saluted. From the astute local stable of Tas Morton, the Smart Missile gelding dwelt at the start but recovered quickly to be positioned on the rails behind the early pacemaker, Tayrose. When Tayrose tried to lift in the straight, the run presented and Ben Looker steered the favourite along the fence to race away for a very impressive win. Collision and Anchois made up good ground down the outside over the concluding stages and battled out the minor prizemoney.
Race 4 (The Sandbox Flynns Beach Benchmark 65 Hcp, 1500m): In a wide betting market where Spinning Gold was sent out the $3.70 favourite, the Waterford Road gelding had to settle for second place. Trained by leading local mentor, Neil Godbolt, Hippy High Ho was well positioned early by Belinda Hodder and was able to arrest the lead from the early pacemaker, Zar Gold, when the field raced straightened for the run to the judge. The Damien Lane-trained galloper, Spinning Gold, was trapped deep for most of the journey from an unfavourable draw but mounted a challenge for victory over the concluding stages. Belinda Hodder was able to get the most out of Hippy High Ho to guide the Manton gelding to a narrow victory over the luckless Spinning Gold with Capital Magic gaining third.
Race 5 (Schweppes Showcase Hcp, 1200m): Age shall not weary them was certainly the case as the 10-year-old gelding, I’m Danny was able to kick back along the rails after being clearly headed in the straight. Promising young apprentice jockey, Olivia Pickering had no hesitation in taking the Techrico galloper to the lead and was successful in staving off the late finish of Portatorio. Pickering was able to dictate terms to suit herself and showed a great deal of riding strength and determination in repelling the challenges down the home running. I’m Danny has been a wonderful money spinner trainer, Ken Tynan, particularly at Port Macquarie where he reserves some of his best races. Portatorio will derive a great deal of benefit by the run and the short favourite, Prince Mayted was handy before wilting over the concluding stages.
Race 6 (Hill Street Store Class 1 Hcp, 1200m): A peach of a ride by Josh Adams enabled the Benjamin Smith-trained mare, Golly Miss Solly to land the race over Lonfino and Island Grange. Following an impressive win at Tuncurry recently, the Stratum galloper was positioned in the middle of the field by Adams before making his move down the outside. Patriot was easy in the betting market and set the early speed before being swamped in the straight by Lonfino with Golly Miss Solly extricating off the rails to challenge. With an outstanding burst of speed, Golly Miss Solly came down the outside to record a solid victory over Lonfino with the well-supported mare, Island Grange, finishing soundly for third.
Race 7 (Ruins Cafe Lake Innes Village Class 2 Hcp, 1500m): There was a great deal of confidence around Bastia in betting operations and the Kris Lees-trained runner gave nothing else a chance with a comprehensive victory. Alison Threadwell took Zetastar to the early lead before being headed by O’Driscoll and Apocalyptic Fun. Bastia was perfectly positioned just off the speed by jockey, Aaron Bullock before making his move approaching the 500m marker. When the field headed for home the Rip Van Winkle gelding exploded to the front and raced clear over the concluding stages over the fast-finishing run of Metre Eater and Our Chad, who was doing his best work late.
Race 8 (Charlie's Takeaway Lake Innes Village Benchmark 55 Hcp, 1000m): The scratching of race favourite Dee You See Kay five minutes before post time caused a betting reshuffle in the final event on the card. Josh Adams made it a riding double when the new favourite, Kelsha Begs scored a decisive victory over Teravette with Art Attack not far away in third place. The last start Coffs Harbour winner, Can’t Skate, set the speed early before being challenged by Kelsha Begs as the field approached the home bend. Adams kicked clear on Alan Smith-trained mare in the straight and was able to stave off the fast finishing burst of Teravette, who was responsible for an eye-catching run down the outside. The Teranaba mare from the Wyong stables of Les Tilley made up an enormous amount of ground over the concluding stages to be beaten a neck.
Horses to Follow: Spinning Gold, Metre Eater, Teravette