It's not often Hawkesbury trainers don’t figure in the winning list at Bathurst meetings - and it was no different on Monday with three of them tasting success. Importantly, for one of them, the day carried extra significance as it provided Peter Green with his first professional victory as a thoroughbred trainer.
Green, well known in harness racing circles in NSW, West Australia and New Zealand, won the Maiden Handicap (1300m) with $3.40 joint favourite Respun. To make it a good day for Hawkesbury, Garry Frazer and Scott Singleton followed on by scoring with Sweet Fella ($9) and Base Camp ($2.90) respectively.
Hawkesbury apprentice Chelsea Ings continued her good form, notching the 42nd win of her career on Frazer’s Sweet Fella. Green may be a newcomer to the thoroughbred training ranks, but he is an experienced horseman.
He took out his standardbred trainer-driver’s licence when he was 16, and had plenty of success in NSW and New Zealand before working as a harness steward in NSW and WA. Green took on training thoroughbreds toward the end of 2016, and his breakthrough win came at the annual Bong Bong picnic meeting last November when successful with Prime Justice in a Class 1/Maiden Plate (2300m).
Former Victorians Prime Justice and Respun were both purchased sight unseen online for moderate sums by Green’s brother Clinton. Neither had won; Prime Justice was unraced and Respun had started 10 times without placing.
“It was a big thrill to win with Prime Justice at Bong Bong, and an even bigger thrill to score with Respun today,” Green said after returning home from Bathurst yesterday evening. “When we got him from Victoria, we discovered he was a roarer (breathing problem),” Green explained. “Respun had a tie back operation, and we’ve got that problem sorted out. He deserved that win.”
A five-year-old by Hard Spun, Respun has raced only four times since joining Green’s team and was runner-up at both Nowra (December 31) and Queanbeyan (January 13) before breaking through at Bathurst.
“We’ve got a couple of new owners involved in the stable, and I’ve got seven in work – but there’s always room for more,” Green said. Winning rider Grant Buckley acknowledged Green’s hard work after getting Respun home. “He’s doing a good job with his team,” he said.
As Buckley paid tribute to Green, so too Frazer did with apprentice Ings after winning the Class 2 Handicap (1300m) on Sweet Fella.
“She rode him well; he doesn’t like racing inside horses,” Frazer said. Sweet Fella was widest on the turn, but finished gamely to claim the third victory of his career. The Street Sense five-year-old’s earlier wins were at Nowra and Taree in 2016. Ings is enjoying easily her most successful season of riding, clinching her 19th win since August 1.
Singleton was just as effusive about Christian Reith’s ride on Class 1 Handicap (1400m) winner Base Camp, who overpowered $2.80 favourite Ave in spite of his 62.5kg topweight.
“Christian thought he might settle outside the leader, but when that didn’t happen he was good enough to change tactics and let him settle under his big weight,” he said. “Base Camp is a hard horse to place. He is probably on the cusp of being given an opportunity in town midweek with a lighter weight.”
Base Camp, a Mosayter four-year-old, raced in blinkers and posted his second win from only 10 starts. He has also been placed on a further four occasions.