By Doug Ryan
Five-year-old Port Macquarie mare Penny Fling 'grew another leg' with a dominant, easy six-length win, its second distance race in seven days, at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Tuesday.
She was a gallant length second to Wyong’s Pinot Gris over 2012m on her home track last Tuesday to then backed up to score over 2000m in the Winning Post Function Centre Country Class 1 Plate in a fraction outside the class record set in 2013.
Trainer John Sprague had reservations about backing her up at such a short interval but the mare “was going too good". “I thought she was due for a spell as she also had a win over 1700m at Grafton early last month.”
He and owners Peter and Lesley White, of North Haven, are daring to dream the Lookin At Lucky (USA) galloper may turn out to be a country cups horse. Jockey Ben Looker said he had a nice run in transit and “she still had plenty left” at the winning post. Punters were happy in backing her from $4 to $2.50 with bookmakers, paying $2.70 for a win on the TAB.
Five-year-old Taree mare Lobban Hood, trained by breeder-owner and trainer Robert Barnes, was at first thought to also be a middle distance aspirant but she dented those plans in romping to a half-length win over 1000m in the Saxbys Soft Drinks Fillies and Mares Maiden Plate: “She is bred on both sides to be a stayer,” said a bemused Barnes.
But he was happy to have her racing soundly after overcoming a “crook knee.” Lobban Hood ($2.70 bookies) was sporting brand new colours on apprentice jockey Chloe Baker who was all smiles with the mare's performance in leading all the way, just holding off the fast-finishing Port filly Our Trolley Dolly, trained by Neil Godbolt.
The riding honours went to Josh Adams who grabbed a winning double with resuming four-year-old gelding Aristograts ($5.50) in the Hydra Hose Summer Cup Day-December 24 Class 3 Handicap over 1000m and five-year-old mare Kopite ($2.70) in the Hannam Vale Cup Day-December 18-Benchmark 63 Handicap over 1250m.
Aristograts settled last but came with a slashing run wide out to score by 2.5 lengths in running its last 600m in 34.33s for Newcastle trainer Benjamin Smith and part-owner Mike Wilson who was making his first visit to the Bushland Drive Racecourse which raced great with a good 3 surface. Adams said he was happy to be posted about six-wide mid-race as the gelding was slow away but in the run home "he absolutely killed them ... it was just a matter when I go.”
Kopite’s trainer Adam Duggan from Gosford had faith that his galloper was “too good for them” vindicated with a stylish 2.25 lengths win over Wyong mare Stradance and Wyong gelding Sleepwalker. Previously, Kopite had recorded two placings at the track from two starts and “had been unlucky up here.”
Adams took advantage of no speed on early to be moving forward three-wide before turning on the pace in the straight: “I thought I had the best horse in the race,” he said.
Rank outsider five-year-old gelding Winton ($91, paid $109 on TAB) gave punters and Newcastle trainer Jeremy Smith a shock, scoring a half-head win for jockey Luke Cumberland at only the galloper’s second start, it beating the heavily-backed favourite Testaview ($2.80 to $2.10) in the Mid Coast Automative Group Maiden Plate over 1600m.
Muswellbrook four-year-old gelding Hermano ($1.90) , trained by Todd Howlett and ridden by Andrew Gibbons, showed his consistent form with a half-length win in the XXXX Gold Entires & Geldings Maiden Plate over 1000m.
Five-year-old gelding San Sierra ($21), trained at Newcastle by Grant Marshall and ridden by Alison Threadwell, led all the way to just last by a half-length in the Inglis Classic Sale At Riverside Stables-February 10-13 Class 2 Handicap over 1250m. Racing returns to Taree on December 18 for the Hannam Vale Cup Day TAB meeting.