Race 1: Mikayla Weir made the most of a lucky late ride to swamp her rivals and win Sunday’s $30,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Stamina Maiden Showcase Handicap (1000m) with Dead Reckoning at Scone. The Jeremy Sylvester-trained three-year-old gelding son of Henrythenavigator unleashed a brilliant late burst to capture a length win from Greg Bennett’s Lady Segolene. Just when the Scone filly looked like posting her first win at her second start the Cessnock gelding rocketed to a his first win in eight starts, backing up from a second at Kempsey just a few days previous. “He only raced at Kempsey on Friday, ran second,” Jeremy Sylvester said. He had no qualms about backing him up so quickly and asked claiming apprentice Mikayla Weir to ride him quietly. That she did before unleashing. "How easy was that,” a beaming Jeremy Sylvester asked the young apprentice. “Pretty easy,” she smiled back. Sylvester didn’t book Mikayla Weir until Saturday. “She was coming back from the Bendemeer Rodeo,” he said. “I asked her what she was doing Sunday and she said working. When I asked her if she wanted to ride she jumped at it. The apprentice smiled at that and acknowledged how good a night the Bendy Rodeo was before claiming a victory in today’s first race of the Country Championships Qualifier meeting.
Race 3: Majestic Pedrille might have been the first emergency but she signalled might just be contesting the feature race on this same meeting in 12 months time after today’s brilliant debut at Scone. The Mark Schmetzer-trained three-year-old filly ran down Penny Dreadful to win the $30,000 Nicconi @ Widden Stud 3YO Country Maiden Showcase Plate (1100m) by a head. Geoff O’Brien’s Snipex Abaa was a gallant third, two and a quarter lengths away after leading into the straight. Majestic Pedrille is trained at Muswellbrook by Mark Schmetzer for a Sydney syndicate including breeder Brett Gall. “Her mother (Madame Pedrille) was a good mare, had bad legs,” Brett Gall said. “She should have beaten Hot Danish and beat More Joyous,” he said of two outstanding mares. Mark Schmetzer knew Majestic Pedrille had talent from day one and believes she has a more than bright future. He believes she might be racing in next year’s Country Championship Qualifier at Scone. “Maybe a couple of Highway Handicaps in between too,” he said. “I’ve always had a big opinion of her and we did set her for this.” Having a set of a trials cancelled last week was a bit of a nuisance but he’d given her some jump outs and her natural ability and fitness did the rest.
Race 4: He's named after the road his owner/trainer lives in Scone and on Sunday Moobi burst down the middle of the Scone track to snare a maiden win in the Casino Prince @ Vinery Maiden Showcase Plate (1300m). The Peter Bloomfield-trained four-year-old chestnut gelding wasn’t looking likely though halfway through the race. “Greg said he was going backwards at the 500m,” Peter Bloomfield said after a race where his son of Spinning World turned around his early listlessness for jockey Greg Ryan to fly late and victorious for a three quarter length win from Mull Over. “When he got balanced he really picked up,” Greg Ryan said. “He felt really nice.” Greg Ryan has known owner/breeder Michael Parkinson for many years. “Ridden a lot of horses for him when he trained,” he said. “Always had a nice horse.” Michael Parkinson was humble and shy, preferring to let Peter Bloomfield do the talking and work and he to pay the bills. He has a property on Moobi Road and happy to let Peter Bloomfield do all the hard work. “I thought it would be hard training for a trainer,” Peter Bloomfield joked. “It’s not. Michael’s always had a couple of good mares too and this bloke has done a good job this time in. “He is going to be a nice horse later on too. He’s a nice horse, a real nice horse.” Just where the gelding goes now is undetermined. “We’ll see how he pulls up,” he said. Bloomfield has eight in work at the moment and hoping to pick after a dry spell.
Race 5: Denzil continued a rush of late charges to win Sunday’s $30,000 Shalaa @ Arrowfield Benchmark 55 Showcase Handicap (1300m) at Scone. The David Pfeiffer-trained four-year-old gelding wore down Tycoon Mar over the final 150m to claim a short neck win. Tye Angland rode the son of Many Facets and had to overcome a couple of impediments along the way. “He knuckled over and then he got shunted back at the corner,” he told stable foreman Sue O’Keeffe after sooling the gelding to his second win in seven starts. Sue O’Keeffe said Denzil has been steadily improving. “He’s a good horse,” she said. “He likes to run like that. Tye suits him and has ridden him before.” The spacious scone track was at its best yesterday with every horse a chance. “It is a good track,” Sue O’Keeffe agreed. “They can come from anywhere and win.”
Race 6: Red Knot ploughed his way through a Heavy 8 track to win his second successive race on his home track on Sunday. The Rod Northam-trained gelding jumped well from his barrier two and by the 900m he had grabbed a narrow lead from Bench Star, a lead he never surrendered as he forged away for a length win from Captain Scott with Bench star hanging on gamely for third for his trainer Damien Lane. It was an impressive effort coming off a front-winning win at his previous start at Scone. “Pleasing, very pleasing,” said part-owner Paul Frampton. “Three weeks ago he ran them off their feet here. It’s never easy to win your next race after your maiden win.” Rod Northam prepares Red Knot at Scone and he too was pleased with the performance. “It was good,” he said. “Hard work to win two in a row especially as he carried a big weight (59.5kg).” He has no immediate concrete plans for Red Knot. “Try and find an easy one somewhere,” he said. A few minutes after Rod Northam’s talented gelding had won his outstanding sprinter, Big Money, worked down the middle of the track as part of a memorial to recently departed Scone Race Club president Noel Leckie. The former long-serving administrator lost his battle with cancer a few weeks ago. The SRC named its new function room the Noel Leckie Function Room in his honour on Sunday before Big Money’s salute on the track. The SRC has also named its Country Cup at its May Cup Carnival the Noel Leckie Memorial Country Cup.
Race 7: Caerless Choice stuck his nose out at the right time to win Sunday’s $150,000 Hunter and North West Racing Association Country Championship Qualifier (1400m) at Scone. The unbeaten Paul Messara-trained gelding arrived down the middle of the track to beat Todd Howlett’s consistent gelding Nic’s Vendetta by a short half head while Greg Bennett’s gelding All Summer Long was just a nose away third. Another three or four horses were within a length of the winner in a rousing Qualifier made even more tantalising by the addition of heavy rain less than an hour before the Qualifier and downgrading the track to a Heavy 8. That rain had disappointed Caerless Choice’s trainer Paul Messara. “I thought we were no chance,” he said after the race. “He was first up over 1400m and when the rain came down I thought he was no chance. I just told Mitchell to try and have the last crack at them.” Mitchell Bell thought he was in trouble too. “He was struggling at the half mile,” he told Paul Messara. He told the trainer he thought he wasn’t going to figure when he first went for him but then picked up. Even when Caerless Choice dived at Nic’s Vendetta Messara wasn’t sure he had won but remembered the photo finish at scone can be a little favourable for outside horses. Winning Sunday’s Qualifier also allows Paul Messara the chance to atone for the first Country Championship Final won by Muswellbrook gelding Artlee. “It’s very exciting,” he said about having another runner in the $400,000 Final on April 1. We had Tarangower in the first one and he ran second. And we have targeted this race with him (Careless Choice). It’s been a long slow process, he’s one of those horses who you thing will be better in six months time.” Todd Howlett was delighted. Not often you run second but still win. While he ran second he collected $32,000 and a berth in the $400,000 Final. “He’s always been a consistent,” Todd Howlett said. “Always promised us something.” He thought Caerless Choice had nabbed him on the line but is unsure of what he will do with his gelding in the lead up to the April 1 Final. “He’s nice and fit,” he said. “Most unlikely I will run him again.” All Summer Long’s connections will now go to the Muswellbrook Wild Card a 1280m sprint on Sunday, March 26.
Race 8: War Hero burst down the middle of the track to win Sunday’s So You Think @ Coolmore Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1100m) and set up a possible “crack at a Sydney race”. The three-year-old gelding son of Sepoy, trained at Scone by John Ramsay, rushed past his opposition to beat Cleeve Hill by a length and a half with Laszlo a nose away third. Tye Angland rode the gelding and was full of praise for his performance first up from a spell. “He jumped well, travelled well,” Angland told John Ramsay. “Just got him balanced and had cover and then he just zipped home. He should be even better than that on top of the ground.” Angland did say the gelding blundered a little at the top of the straight but put that down to the track. “It is a true heavy out there,” he said. John Ramsay was delighted with the gelding’s second win in seven starts. He has just the two horses in work, working them in the morning before managing his father’s farm. Training the horses provides an interesting change to the farm management and John is hopeful War Hero can measure up in Sydney. “That was good,” John Ramsay said. “There’s a lot of improvement left in him though but that’s how we wanted him today. “We’ll go to Sydney now in a couple of weeks and give him a crack at one.” Not necessarily a Highway handicap either for country-trained horses but maybe a race of higher standing against metropolitan-trained horses.