By Doug Ryan
Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham unveiled a potential star in the win of two-year-old gelding Awesome Pluck at Taree-Wingham Race Club’s Showcase TAB meeting on Thursday.
The Pluck (USA) youngster spreadeagled a field of older gallopers to score virtually untouched by 5.5 lengths in the $40,000 New Members Welcome Plate over 1000m at its first start. And it did it coming within one second of the class record on a heavy 9 rated track at Bushland Drive Racecourse.
“A really nice horse, it was effortless ... he still had a few gears left,” jockey Ben Looker said in praise of the effort.
The giant two-year-old (16.2 hands) was bought for $68,000 by Wauchope businessman Dale Miller at the Inglis Classic Sydney Sales in February.
Although a little green when shooting to the lead entering the straight, Awesome Luck ($2.20 to $1.90 with local bookmakers) in registering 58.71 seconds for the journey, could have easily bettered it and the time of 58.68 recorded by three-year-old gelding Dubai Sights in the previous race over 1000m, the De Bortoli Wines Class 3 Handicap.
The two gallopers met in a recent barrier trial at the course with Dubai Sights winning from Awesome Luck. Graham was tickled pink with the win as her daughter, Belinda, rides the gelding trackwork and the win provided prizemoney of $22,200 and a $10,000 BOBS Bonus.
She was a little worried how the youngster would handle the wet track but Miller was confident because its dam, Shackelite, is by noted mudlark galloper Mossman. Graham is tossing up whether to take Awesome Luck to Sydney or Grafton for its next race.
She was hoping to have a winning double with back from near death four-year-old gelding Portatorio but it failed by just under a length to peg back three-year-old filly Hammoon Dream ($6.50 local price) in the Saxbys Soft Drinks Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1250m.
The filly was the first of two wins for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, he also saluting with three-year-old gelding Kool Vinnie ($5.50 local price) which made it three wins from its past four starts, all with Andrew Gibbons in the saddle, in the Manning River Times Class 3 Handicap over 1400m.
Mid North Coast trainers fared well with four wins on the card, one of them being six-year-old mare Jovatico ($13), trained by owner Colin Hughes, it taking 24 starts to grab glory in the XXXX Gold 4YO’s & Upwards Maiden Handicap over 1300m on the track then rated a heavy 10.
“The track conditions and the weak noms helped,” he said of the last to first nearly three lengths win in a top ride by local apprentice Chloe Baker. She made it two in a row on her master Wayne Wilkes three-year-old filly Lucciola Belle ($3.50) in the Wingham Services Club 3YO Maiden Handicap over 1250m.
Taree trainer Matthew Robinson described his gelding Dubai Sights as “very smart” after a last to first 1.5 lengths win for jockey Matthew Paget.
Cessnock trainer Rebecca Dunn, nursing her 18 month old son Casey, was all smiles with the win of her five-year-old mare Lady Marmaletta ($8) by a half length for jockey Blake Spriggs in the Stacks Law Firm Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1600m.
Wyong trainer Allan Denham again saw potential in his two-year-old gelding Imperial Eagle ($4.60), ridden by Robert Thompson, after it notched its second easy win at the track in the Mid Coast Automotive Group Class 1 Handicap over 1250m. “He did a good job as a youngster against older horses,” he said.