By Geoff Newling
Race 1: Wanting You broke through at her sixth start when fighting off all her opposition to win the $20,000 Goodwin Kenny 3YO Maiden Handicap (1400m) at Tamworth. Trained on the track by Sue Grills the daughter of Snippetson held off Greg Bennett’s Cool Baby for a long neck win with Rod Northam’s Bow River a long head away third. Wanting You had raced five times previous and produced her best effort on her home track so far. “She really likes the wet tracks,” Sue Grills said. “The only run the two good races she’s run have been here and on wet tracks.” She trains the three-year-old filly for Paul Frampton and recognised his great support over a number of years. “He’s a fabulous client,” she said. “That’s his third winner for us in a couple of weeks too.” It was also Sue’s second winner in two days after venturing to Coonamble and winning with Moonlight Spy on Monday. The gelding had been disappointing of late and had no luck, she said. However, a perfect Greg Ryan ride turned all that around for an imposing win that suggests there is plenty more in store. “He did run very well,” Sue Grills said. “Such a relief to finally win one with him for such a good bunch of owners. They’ve been so unlucky with him, kept drawing wide and trying to get him right."
Race 2: Nobody became a racing somebody when he blitzed his opposition in today’s $20,000 Tamworth City Toyota Maiden Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth. A son of Lookin At Lucky the four-year-old gelding led a merry dance as he cruised along in front before letting down strongly for Greg Ryan and score a four length win. He had debuted at Scone with a sixth to Caerless Choice back in October, spelled and resumed with a two and half length second to My Maggie at Scone on March 21. “He pulled up really well after Scone,” Rod Northam said after the race. “He backed up well today but he’s still green, still raw and wanted to over race early on.” However, when Greg Ryan settled him he was able to “stack them up” and then race clear to an emphatic victory. “He felt super,” Greg Ryan said. “Wish they were all as easy as that.” Rod Northam has no concrete plans with the lightly-raced gelding. “We’ll look for a Class 1 somewhere over a similar distance and progress from there,” he said. Northam also has After All That in Saturday’s $400,000 Country Championship Final (1400m) at Randwick and remains confident the gelding can run a big race after finishing second to Pelerin in last Sunday’s Wild Card at Scone. “I’m really happy with him,” he said. “He pulled up well.” It will be After All That’s second tilt at the Country Championship Final. “He ran last in it last year,” the Scone trainer admitted. “He wasn’t ready but I own him and ran him.” His great mate, Robert Thompson, who rode him in Sunday’s Wild Card will partner him on Saturday as well. “He hit the front a long way from home (at Scone),” Rod Northam said. “But kept boxing on.” Northam has had a runner in both CC Finals so far as well, finishing third with Voodoo Lad in 2015.
Race 3: Under The Thumb made light of an early slip up to flash home down the outside and win today’s $20,000 Coreys Catering Class 2 Handicap (1000m) at Tamworth. In the process he handed Tamworth trainer Sue Grills a winning double after she had one the first race with Wanting You. “It was welcome,” she laughed of the pair of wins. However, that didn’t look likely when Under The Thumb missed the start. Jockey Peter Graham told Sue Grills the four-year-old gelding’s back legs slipped from under him when they jumped. “He normally leads,” Sue Grills said. “That was super, he hit the line well.” Her son, Todd, was strapping the gelding son of Falvelon and he too had a wry laugh after Under The Thumb’s tardy start. “He normally races on the speed, couldn’t believe it. “But it was a nice win, he’s got a bit of ability but had a few little problems.”
Race 4: Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge believes Ticket To Riches might make a good staying prospect next preparation after she zoomed home from back in the field to win today’s Allsop Signs Maiden Plate (1600m) at Tamworth. The lightly-framed daughter of Tickets followed race favourite Sand Wedge into the straight and while being widest of all runners worked home strongly to post a half length win from the Paul Perry-trained Sand Wedge. Bridie’s Brook (Les Tilley) was a length away third. Steve Hodge has high hopes for the lightly raced four-year-old. “Her last start at Tuncurry as unbelievable, gave them a big start and was only beaten two lengths,” Steve Hodge said. “She’s my first winner for her owner, Daryl Rawson, too. Had a few runners and a few placings but that was my first winner for him.” Rawson, from Willow tree, has a few more horses, such as fancy Nickers, to head back down to Hodge at his Broadmeadow base in Newcastle. Tickets To Riches pulled up well after today’s maiden win at her ninth start, Hodge added. “She’s a funny horse,” he said. “She was a lather of sweat before the race but she doesn’t get stirry, just sweats up bad. We’ll look for a few races for her now, won’t back up too quick. next time in she’ll make a better horse. Get her up to a mile and quarter.”
Race 5: Market Guru claimed a unique record for Sue Grills when he won today’s $20,000 Advanced Inland Security Colts, Gelding and Entires Benchmark 55 Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth today. The six-year-old gelding son of Markane surged to a narrow win from Sally Torrens’ Dos Santos with Mark Hatch’s Stannis Baratheon third. Matt McGuren produced a perfect ride to claim Market Guru’s sixth win at his 46th start. It was one Sue Grills will cherish for a long while after she had won twice earlier in the day with Wanting You and Under The Thump. “My first treble here at Tamworth,” she confirmed with a wide grin. “Been about 10 years since we moved in (from Somerton). Had doubles before but never a treble here.” That market Guru, who has also run 14 placings had been the third leg of that first treble also made it better. “He’s such a consistent horse,” she said. "Been a terrific horse for us. he’s no champion but never stops trying. That track suited him too. He likes it soft but not too soft and Matty (McGuren) rode him perfect. He’s also been a terrific horse for his owners. They bought him for just $1000. He’s now won $93,750 in prizemoney. They’ve got a real kick out of him because he’s been so honest.” Sue also reckoned it was “Chinese" for tea tonight after the triple racing treat.
Race 6: Brett Dodson returned to his old home town and track to win today’s tab.com.au Benchmark 55 Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth with a gelding that appears to be over a lot of setbacks. Guided swept down the extreme outside to beat Kris Lees’s Ombramani by a length and half with the Justin Stanley-trained Prattler a half head away third. Matthew Bennett rode Guided for Coffs Harbour based Dodson and delighted with the effort by the four-year-old gelding son of Henrythenavigator. “I wanted to be wide but not that wide,” Matt Bennett said on dismounting. Indeed he was just a horse or two inside the outside fence at Tamworth which also intrigued Dodson, who had started his racing career as an apprentice and then a trainer at Tamworth a few decades back. “Is this the right place,” he asked this journalist as he waited in the winner's stall. “Been so long since I’ve been here.” He left Tamworth to base himself at Coffs Harbour around 15 years ago and continues to make a success of that. Returning to win at Tamworth was also a pleasure he said with a horse who has had plenty of issues. “He was a Coolmore horse but had a cyst in his stifle,” Brett Dodson said. “They said he’d make a nice horse to syndicate so we got him syndicated with a few blokes over here, also a couple for Tamworth, Gav Galvin and Kevin Sole too. His first couple of preps he did everything wrong, he’d over race. We took the blinkers off him and he’d miss the jump by 20 lengths. He just found a lot of trouble but it looks like we’ve found a happy medium with him with the winkers. He’s racing tractably now. Always had the ability just couldn’t get him right. Had a few dramas, nothing major just things that held him back.” He thought his last start at Coffs (on a Heavy 10) was a good pointer and believes he can go and win a few more now. “We might keep him fresh for a 1200 or we might bump him up to a 1400m,” Dodson added. That will be decided when he arrives home and checks to see how the run and trip affects him.
Race 7: Sadhika satisfied Greg Bennett on a number of fronts when the five-year-old daughter of Street Cry won today’s Shay Brennan Constructions Fillies and Mares Benchmark 55 Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth. Ben Looker rode the consistent mare to a length win from Teravette (Les Tilley) with Hill Of Tara (Leon Davies) a short head away third and claimed a first for looker. “Ben’s had a lot of rides for me, ridden a lot of placings but that was his first win for me,” Greg Bennett said on his final day of racing as a licensed trainer. “He’s a great kid. Sure I’ve had a lot of success with the girls, Rachael, Courtney and Mollie but she (Sadhika) is a big strong mare and needed a strong rider to pick her up.” Bennett, who was celebrating his final day as a trainer, was also delighted to win for West Australian owner/breeder Dawn Quackenbush. “Dawn’s had a bit of an eye injury, great to win for her too,” he said. “This is a great way to step away,” he said of his impending “retirement” to start with Aquis Farm in mid-April. “It’s not a bonus. We expected her to run a big race particularly on her last start. That was nice. I missed out on a run at the Championships so today is the day. Had some good days at Tamworth too. Won their horse of the year once, and a couple of trainers premierships here too. Had a lot of fun at Tamworth.” Tamworth Jockey Club made a small presentation to Greg Bennett earlier in the day. The Scone trainer responded graciously, thanked all and sundry for all their support over the years and asked that all those in racing “enjoy themselves”. He also has Taste Of Money, a warm favourite in the eighth race at Tamworth and hopes she runs up to the backing she’s received on the NSW Tote.
Race 8: George Woodward bobbed up to steal Greg Bennett’s final hurrah at Tamworth today. Bennett had warm favourite Taste Of Money engaged in his final race before departing for a new career at Aquis Farm near Canungra in Queensland. Walcha-based Woodward had honest mare Sandy Waters running in today’s $20,000 FSDP Benchmark 65 Handicap (1600m) and she finished strongly for Jake Pracey-Holmes to beat Rachael Murray and Taste of Money. It was an overdue win for the Walcha mare too, George Woodward said. “She was very unlucky last start, got cut out at Dubbo,” George Woodward said. “Should have won, but that’s racing.” Woodward said keeping the daughter of Dylan Thomas was the secret to any success with her. “She’s a good little mare, honest.” She’s also adaptable and goes just as well on rain-affected going as she does on top of the ground. Just where she goes now is unknown. George will take her home and look around for something appealing.
Race 9: The “Tiger” roared, or rather purred, when he dominated the final race at Tamworth today. Geoff O’Brien’s Ti Tan Tiger continued his improving career to race away to an easy two length win in today’s $20,000 Thread Effects Class 1 Handicap (1400m). Tony Green’s Rush Of Blood was second with Les Tilley’s Our Chad a half length away third in the final race of a nine-race meeting where Quirindi-trained Ti Tan Tiger toyed with his rivals. Rachael Murray made light of the wide barrier draw (17) to move him forward and sit second nearing the turn before stoking him up to take the lead out wide. Ti Tan Tiger moved effortlessly to the front and cruised to the line for an emphatic win, his second success in three starts for owners Bob and Russell. The Wyong father and son were on hand to cheer home another good win after he had broken through so well at Quirindi and then run a huge second to Bullet Kid at his previous start at Tamworth. The Russells did have Ti Tan Tiger with Robert “Pud’ Davies originally but elected to move him north to Geoff O’Brien at Quirindi, who had also trained for them in the past. They now have six horses, including the Tiger, with O’Brien and are hopeful all six will be winning. So too is Geoff O’Brien, who thinks Ti Tan Tiger has a few more wins in him yet. "He’s an honest big horse” he said. "He works well, a big quiet bloke. Lovely horse to ride work. He’s done everything right.” O’Brien also blames himself for losses at Gilgandra (second) and Tamworth when he instructed the jockeys to take off at the “half mile”. Today he let Rachael Murray ride him as she felt and she had him perfectly placed throughout before letting him cut loose in the straight, purring along like a Mercedes Benz to cruise home. Just where Ti Ta Tiger is headed won’t be decided for a little while, Geoff O’Brien said. "No plans.” he said with a little grin. "See what happens the next couple of weeks.”