By Alexander Grant
Jar of Hearts continued the promising start to her career at Tyers Park on Monday with her victory in the Schweppes Class 2 Handicap (1300m). Jockey Greg Ryan helped Jar Of Hearts ($2 favourite) earn her second straight win, and her fourth victory in 10 career races, to follow on from her success at Parkes last start.
Turf Tapper ($3.60) was the runner-up just under three lengths off the pace while Bathurst trainer Peter Stanley and his chance Dungannon ($15) were third. Winning trainer Cameron Crockett continues to be impressed by the four-year-old Ad Valorem mare.
“She’s just come back really, really good after a spell. She strengthened up quite a bit and she’s run quite well there,” he said. “I was quite happy with the way she was ridden. She’s normally a little bit closer but I was happy for her to be where she was stepping up to the 1300m.
"We’re going to go up to 1400m next for The Championships. I’m really happy. We’ve got two wins on the board [this preparation] and we’ve got a lot of confidence with the horse. We’ll keep her one piece for the next four weeks and away we go.”
Jar Of Hearts took the lead away from Special Silk with 200m to go in Monday’s race. Turf Tapper looked set to offer a challenge to Jar Of Hearts in the closing stages but the three-year-old, trained by former Bathurst resident Bjorn Baker, raced erratically down the outside of the track. Jockey Charles Bishop opted to pull the gelding up inside the final 50m but was still able to run second.
Hirokin wins Wellington Cup Prelude for Bell & Austin By Alexander Grant
Hirokin has taken out the Wellington Cup Prelude at Bathurst on Monday with two local runners filling the minor placings. Roy McCabe’s I’m Away ($3.50) battled on well for second spot 1.5 lengths adrift, while Paul Theobald’s early race leader Bathurstian ($17) ran gamely for third.
Recent Bathurst Cup placegetter Uncle Sugar ($2.70) struggled to carry the 61 kilogram topweight while Theobald’s other contender, Tiger’s Story ($26) finished at the tail of the field.
The win gave Bell his second success of the day after guiding Betterthanyouthink to victory in the meeting’s opening event, the Westco Class 2 Handicap (1800m).
In the Prelude, Bathurstian – in the hands of apprentice Jean Van Overmeire – unsurprisingly took up his favoured front-running position as the field went past the post for the first time. Bell tucked Hirokin directly behind the leader while a small two length break emerged back to I’m Away, who had Uncle Sugar racing on his outside.
Tiger’s Story began to lose contact with the field on the back straight and was as far as eight lengths off the field at one point. That’s the way proceedings remained until the turn for home.
Bell pulled Hirokin to the outside of Bathurstian and passed the local runner with 350m left to race. I’m Away attempted to keep up with the new leader down the middle of the track but Bell’s runner didn’t look troubled on his way to victory.
“The plan was to see how the race panned out. I would have been happy to go forward and lead but the speed was there so I was happy to sit off it. It worked out well for us,” Bell said. “I knew it was going to be a struggle for the topweight [Uncle Sugar] with that sort of weight to be coming off my back, especially with the horse I had underneath me.
“I waited until the death. Coming into the home corner he felt really good, and I thought ‘I don’t have to get going yet, I can wait until I straighten to make my move’ and it panned out well.”
Bell was happy to add to his earlier success on Betterthanyouthink: “That was a nice ride for me. The two starts for [trainer] Mark Gee leading up to today were quite impressive so I was always happy to pick up that ride,” he said. “He’s got a few quirks but his ability shows that he’ll be able to go on with it.”