By Doug Ryan
The fairytale ride between master and his apprentice jockey took further traction with three-year-old Port Macquarie colt Cogliere winning the $150,000 qualifying heat for the $400,000 Country Final at The Championships at Taree on Sunday.
Trainer Marc Quinn and his star 19-year-old apprentice Andrew Adkins were given “rock star” treatment by a big contingent of owners and relatives. It was such that Quinn choked and tears welled in his eyes as he realised his biggest win to date and vindicated his belief in his colt, bought for $22,000 and now in receipt of nearly $187,000 prizemoney from 12 starts.
His late father, revered former top Sydney trainer Pat Quinn, would have been extremely proud of his son’s achievement. Marc bought Cogliere with top races like The Championships in mind and Adkins was a guiding part of breaking in the colt when he was indentured to the trainer after leaving school.
Adkins talents were soon realised when he booted home winner after winner and Quinn was part of the decision making to have the talented youngster go to Sydney trainer and top apprentice mentor, former champion jockey Ron Quinton.
Adkins, with his father and mother in the crowd, didn’t let his supporters down in riding three winners and a second. And the big cheer squad roared in appreciation for not only the deeds of Adkins but in recognition of the astute way Quinn has gone about trying to find them a champion.
Taree-Wingham Race Club chairman, Gregory Coleman, summed up what he had witnessed at the presentation: “A super race ... a very good field of local gallopers and our local boys Andrew and Corey Brown fighting out the finish.”
Brown was a Wingham resident when he started his jockey apprenticeship at Taree and was on four-year-old mare Shotgun Roulette, trained at Taree by Wayne Wilkes. Halfway down the straight Cogliere ($5.50), Shotgun Roulette ($3.80) and five-year-old Taree gelding Ever So Natural ($3.80), trained by Cliff Bashford, surged in a level line but it was the wide-out momentum and strength which got the cash for Quinn’s charge.
“He is a very good horse but I was worried when the rain came,” said Quinn. “I never lost faith in my horse and when I rode him this morning, he felt good. I have a great bunch of owners and they were happy for me to give Cogliere time to develop.”
Adkins said the owners had stuck by him and he had rewarded them with a couple of wins, one most recently in a Highway race in Sydney. Wilkes congratulated Quinn on his win, he was happy to qualify, and Bashford may try and qualify in the “wild card” race over 1280m at Muswellbrook on March 26.
Adkins kicked off the day with a easy 2.75 lengths win on first-starter, three-year-old Taree filly I Am Serious ($4.60), which Wilkes has been handling with its trainer Bob Haire being hospitalised, in the Oxley Island Thoroughbreds Showcase 3YO Maiden Handicap over 1250m.
He booted home four-year-old mare Glitterama ($9.50) for Bashford in the Mid Coast Automotive Group Showcase Benchmark Handicap over 1600m and was runner-up on Yueldoo ($2.60) for Scone trainer Rodney Northam in the $40,000 Saxby’s Soft Drinks Showcase Maiden Plate over 1300m won by The Free World ($5) , which is trained at Tuncurry by Terry Evans and was ridden by Wanderson D’Avila.
“This is terrific prizemoney for a maiden race in the country,” said Evans. Local trainers snared the majority of the record $370,000 prizemoney on offer at the meeting, the only visiting trainer to win being Newcastle’s Paul Perry with Grammar School ($4.40) and with Gadfly $4.40), both ridden by apprentice jockey Rachel King.
Taree trainer Ross Stitt hoped the win of gelding Blinkin Awesome ($31, paid $48.50 on TAB) in the 2RE & Max FM Showcase Class 1 Handicap over 1000m would raise the spirits of owner Errol French, who is suffering from cancer, and its track rider Pippa Callaghan who is in the local hospital.
Taree trainer “Pablo” Shultz praised trackwork rider Misty Travis for the win of five-year-old mare Runaway Jet ($9.50), ridden by Allan Chau and owned by his wife, Beth, after it scored its second win at start 26 in the Ironwood Timber Showcase Country Class 1 Plate over 2000m.