By Brad Gray
“It’s a cliff hanger in the SDRA qualifier,” race caller Anthony Manton bellowed as three horses crossed the line locked together.
There was just 0.1L between the trio.
Another One, trained by local trainer Gary Colvin, came out the narrow winner of the Newhaven Park Country Championships qualifier (1400m) at Wagga Wagga, with $61 outsider Bautista, trained by Donna Scott, also booking a spot in Randwick’s $500,000 final on April 3 on Day 1 of The Championships.
Another One, a lightly-raced three-year-old with just seven starts to his name, winning four or them, disappointed in a TAB Highway Handicap a fortnight ago but Colvin just stuck to the plan.
“After his run at Randwick I was getting a bit worried, wondering whether as a young horse if he would cop (the work) so I brought him back home and he came good,” said Colvin.
“When you have a young horse you have to look after them, so we just bit the bullet, forgot that bad run and had a real crack at this race.
“I’ve always said he was a miler, he is strong on the line and that’s where you are winning races.”
Jockey Nick Heywood rides Another One at trackwork, has now ridden the Super One gelding four times for three wins and a second.
“I’ve got a lot of time for this bloke, every time he has gone around he has improved, and the only time he gets beat it’s through immaturity, he just isn’t there yet and we won’t see the best of him until he is five or six,” said Heywood, who had to work hard to get down to 56.5kg to ride him.
“It wasn’t pretty today, he was three deep without cover but he switched off well. I was off the bit at the 600m so to win it was a massive effort.
“He’ll be a good chance (in the final) but he is probably looking for the mile or 2000m, and he has nearly come to the end of his preparation but Gary will freshen him up and go from there.”
The verdict is in! Another One rockets home to beat outsider Bautista with the top two qualifying for the final in April.
— The Championships (@ChampionshipsRR) February 20, 2021
Meanwhile, Donna Scott, who qualified retired mare Bennelong Dancer for the Country Championships final three years running, wasn’t surprised to see runner up Bautista defy his huge odds.
“He wasn’t one of the top ones but I was saying all week that with any give in the track he’d be right in it, I wasn’t worried about him first up, it was a great effort,” she said.
“He has a few little knee issues so he spends a lot of time in the pool and on the treadmill so we’ll just keep him ticking over and get him ready for the 3rd of April.
“We have always had a big opinion of him and although he has a few niggles we look after him the best we can.”
There was only three lengths over the first 11 home, with the third placed Takissacod the unlucky one to narrowly miss out.
The heavily backed Lady Brook was brave in running fourth having kicked like she was going to hold on but the 1400m trip just saw her out, coupled with the work she did earlier in the race.
TAB Fixed Odds reacted by trimming Another One’s odds for the final from $21 into $11 while Bautista firmed from $101 into $51.
The pair join Art Cadeau, Leg Work, Baileys and Tara Jasmine as qualified runners with another two contenders to be added after tomorrow’s Mid North Coast heat to be run at Scone, a meeting that was transferred from Taree due to wet weather.