By Rod Fuller
Trainer Joanne Hardy and jockey Ben Looker were the stars of the show as Camden Haven Cup day was successfully conducted on a soft 5 surface under overcast skies at Port Macquarie on Saturday.
The win of Written Song in the feature cup race had to be seen to be believed after giving the field a huge start and Hardy has found the key to the chestnut mare, particularly at Port Macquarie, with 4 track starts and 3 wins.
When Miki Nakao came down the outside in the straight aboard Written Song, it was the first of a double for the stable with Weavered taking out the Maiden Plate by around 8 lengths later in the day. Weavered was the middle leg of a riding treble for jockey, Ben Looker, who has commenced the premiership brilliantly with seven riding winners in the new season.
(Big A+ Laurieton Plumbing & Bathroom Supplies Class 1, 1010m): The Kris Lees-trained debutante, Exellas was sent out the favourite for the opening event, but had to be content with a second place behind Kelsha Begs. Prominent local rider Ben Looker took the early initiative and allowed Kelsha Begs to roll to the front with the last start Taree winner, The Free World, challenging in second. Luke Cumberland positioned Exellas just off the speed along the rails before attempting to more forward when approaching the home turn. Kelsha Begs had shaken off the early battle with The Free World and kicked clear over the concluding stages for a well deserved win. Exellas will derive a great deal of benefit from the run after racing greenly in the straight and Smart Ali battled on for third down the outside.
(Laurieton Residential Resort 3YO & Upward Maiden Hcp, 1110m): The disappointment for the Lees stable in the first event was quickly erased when the odds-on favourite, Tokelau, led throughout to claim the prize. The former Victorian showed strong early speed when taken to the front by promising apprentice, Louise Day, and was allowed to roll along in the middle sections of the race. On straightening, the Denman mare opened up a three length break which could not be arrested by her opposition and posted a strong victory. The Albert Stapleford-trained mare, Capnicconi ran a solid race for second while Inforawaltz made up ground over the concluding stages. The race was marred early when Superior Offer was scratched at the barrier when failing to load and was declared a late scratching.
(Laurieton United Services Club 2017 Camden Haven Cup, 1210m): Written Song was responsible for an outstanding performance to take out the feature race on the program for popular Coffs Harbour trainer, Joanne Hardy. After being a conspicuous last early when Nothing Like Luca, Neon Jungle and Gold Beret were setting the early speed, young apprentice Miki Nakao showed great maturity when making her run just before the home turn. Gold Beret worked hard when placed wide and hit the lead in the straight, but was no match for Written Song’s phenomenal finishing burst with Wonderful Thing home for third. The pre-post favourite, Neon Jungle, paid the penalty for a hard early run and the performance should be forgiven when looking towards the future.
(Camvet Country Class 1 Plate,
2020m): Matthew McGuren’s riding skills were brilliantly displayed when the Redoute’s Choice gelding, Glitch landed the win over Sebring Flyer and Gallant Girl. After Zamirhe set a genuine speed in front over Prospect Road, McGuren was content to position the ultimate winner just off the speed in a beautiful position before kicking clear over the concluding stages. Prospect Road was challenging as the field headed towards the home bend, but unfortunately broke down while the run of Sebring Flyer to make valuable ground down the outside was full of merit.
(Camden Haven Courier 3YO & Upward Maiden Plate, 1512m): The Hinchinbrook mare, Weavered gave Joanne Hardy a training double with a comprehensive thrashing of rivals when breaking her maiden status. After being positioned by Ben Looker mid field in the middle parts of the track, the well supported favourite came with a run down the crown of the track to coast home for an 8 length win. Arloarlo set the tempo in the event and ran an even second over Lothbrok while Field Helmet was scratched at the barrier.
(Club North Haven Benchmark 47,
1512m): After an incident earlier in the day aboard Prospect Road, Peter Graham had to forgo his ride in the last when Svavarsson reared in the barrier stalls and was declared a late scratching. After a solid win at Casino in June, Pat’s Destiny completed a riding treble for jockey Ben Looker and presented Alan Ryan with a well deserved training success. The John McLachlan-trained galloper, Colour Purple, was heavily supported favourite from $4.20 into $2.40 and sat up on the outside of early pacemaker, Before You Think. Looker bided his time on Pat’s Destiny when second last early, some nine lengths off the speed before making a lightning move as the field approached the home bend. Before You Think and Colour Purple tried to lift in the home straight but was no match for the finishing burst of Pat’s Destiny down the outside. The run of Colour Purple was full of merit considering the eleven year old worked hard on the outside of Before You Think for the majority of the event.
Horses To Follow: Exellas, Written Song and Weavered.
A reminder that the next meeting to be conducted by Port Macquarie Race Club is Sunday 24th September featuring the cup prelude, while all roads lead to the track for a magnificent day of Showcase Cup racing on Friday 6th October and continuing the following day.