By Geoff Newling
RACE 1: Veteran Tamworth trainer Peter Cleal claimed a $101 surprise at Tamworth today when Almaheart stunned his opposition to win the Advanced Inland Security Maiden Showcase Handicap (1000m). Three-year-old Almaheart a gelding son of Al Maher paid $86.50 on the NSW Tote while some bookies bet as much as 100-1 about him. With Nyssa Burrells in the pigskin he jumped to the front and was never headed as he registered a length win from race favourite Bowie’s Boy while Sebbag was a half length away third. Almaheart was having his 11th start and coming off a 3.8len eighth to Trojan Grey over 1100m at Quirindi. Nyssa Burrells was delighted with the breakthrough win. “He jumped super,” she told Peter Cleal. That was basically it too as he responded to every urging from his female jockey. Peter Cleal bought Almaheart from Melbourne and was initially disappointed man. “He went awful,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with him.” Some poor runs aided by wet tracks didn’t help. “I ended up putting the blinkers back on him and back to the 1000m today,” Peter Cleal said. It was a run where he wanted “to see what happens. Because if raced likes he works I knew he could win,” he said. Thankfully he did live up to his working gallops and was never going to be run down recording a good 58.18secs.
RACE 2: Silver Art handed Kootingal trainer Michelle Fleming a second win in two days at Tamworth today. Fleming had won at Coonabarabran with stable favourite Cash To Splash on Saturday and then returned to her home Tamworth track to win today’s $30,000 Shay Brennan Constructions Maiden Showcase Handicap (1400m) with grey gelding Silver Art. “He went super,” Michelle Fleming said after a half neck win from fast-finishing Poyfection. “That was lovely, Terry (Green) rode him a treat.” Fleming has had Silver Art for three or four months and been to the races five times previously with him, the best of which was a third at Mudgee and two fourths at Gunnedah and Moree (last start). “He ran a good race at Moree,” Michelle said of the last start fourth to Onya Rosie. “And he’s starting to come real good.” She said he had suffered from heart arrhythmia after a ninth at Tamworth back in June and has taken a while to overcome that. Now that she has she hopes for more success with him. Cash To Splash’s win was also a highlight she said of a ”stable favourite”. “We were so happy to win at Coonabarabran with him,” she said. “You have to be fit to win out there and was very fit for that.” She has no concrete plans for either galloper and will have a look in the calendar after the celebrations die down.
RACE 3: Dual Escape broke through in impressive fashion at Tamworth today. The Kristen Buchanan-trained three-year-old daughter of Dubleo surged clear to a two length win over Happens No More with Lady Sebago a length away third in the $30,000 FSDP 3YO Maiden Showcase Handicap (1200m). The Wyong filly was having just her second race start after debuting at Wyong with a fourth to Satirical Dame on July 13. She had trouble negotiating the Wyong turn and wasn’t 100 per cent around the turn today, wanting to hang out on jockey Serg Lisnyy. However, Lisnyy was aware and strong with her, holding her together before kicking clear in the straight. “She has shown a lot of ability in her work,” Kristen Buchanan said after the maiden win. “I used to trainer her sister, Grand Cooler, too. She had a lot of speed and held a Muswellbrook track record at one stage.” Unfortunately Grand Cooler suffered a tendon injury and was retired for her large group of owners. Ken Dennis is one of those owners and the Novocastrian has been racing horses with good mate, Tony Ferrari for a number of years. They bred and raced Neat Escape, the grand dam of Dual Escape, as well as Dual Escape’s mother Strategic Escape. Ken Dennis is hoping confidence and race experience might help rid Dual Escape of her hanging problems because she has the makings of a smart race mare.
RACE 4: Bonnie Sare turned her season around when she waltzed away with today’s $30,000 Thread Effects F&M Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1400m) at Tamworth. The Inverell-trained mare sprinted clear in the straight to post a two and quarter length win over Ledecky with Onya Rosie a short neck away third. It was Bonnie Sare’s second win at her 18th start and came off a disappointing ninth of 13 to Closely Related at Moree. “All my horses have been going bad though,” advised winning trainer Allan Foran. “She hasn’t been real good this time in either.” A good barrier helped Jodi Worley have the mare well positioned near the front to “sit and sprint”. “That’s how you’ve got to ride her,” she told Foran after the mare had raced away from her opposition on the Soft 6 track. “She took off on the young girl last start,” Allan Foran recalled. “She led and ran last. The two times she has led she has come last both times.”
RACE 5: Alsoknownas pinged through an inviting gap to win for the fifth time at Tamworth today. The Peter Englebrecht-trained gelding had been back in the second half of the field approaching the turn but moved forward under Chris O’Brien’s encouragement. Then O’Brien found a nice gap four or five horses deep to send the gelding son of Zabeel on his way to a three quarter length victory from Taste Of Money with Wayne Oakenfull’s Habsburg a length and a quarter away third. Alsoknownas was having his 35th start and notched his third win since entering Peter Englebrecht’s care at Muswellbrook. He is Englebrecht’s only horse in work at the moment. Chris O’Brien said the Soft 6 track was on the edge of Alsoknownas’s liking. “That’s about as wet as he wants it,” O’Brien told Peter Englebrecht. “He’s much better on top of the ground,” Peter Englebrecht confirmed. “He’s a nice horse.” He had been tried as a staying prospect before Peter received him but he wouldn’t relax. However, Peter now thinks he might “stick on” now especially as “Chris O’Brien rides him so well”.
RACE 6: Mr Pumblechook outclassed his rivals on a tricky Soft 6 Tamworth track to win today’s Tamworth City Toyota Class 2 Showcase Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth. The Cody Morgan-trained gelding son of More Than Ready powered away from his rivals to record a two length win from Mark Mason’s Epic event with Bob Milligan’s Capital Magic a length and a half away third. It was Mr Pumblechook’s third win at his 10th career start. “He was a class above them today,” Cody Morgan. “I had two start earlier today and they couldn’t get out of their own way. I was worried he might be the same on this track.” However, his ability rose above the surface and Jean Van Overmeire was able to sit just in behind the leader (Armageddon On It) approaching the turn before forging clear. “I think he’s a lot better horse on top of the ground,” Cody Morgan said. “That’s probably why he was five and six dollars with the bookies.” He said the three-year-old has had “a little bit of bad luck” in this preparation but is delighted to have won for his owners. “It’s a massive honour to train a horse for the owners of Black Caviar,” he said of a horse raced by Werrett Bloodstock. “I spoke to Mr Werrett the other day. They were in Tokyo but said they would be home in time to see him run.”
RACE 7: Iwatani might be headed to the paddock and a tilt at next year’s Country Championships after his decisive win at Tamworth today. The lightly race Mark Hatch-trained gelding finished too strongly for his rivals to beat Boolaroo (Sue Grills) by a half length in the $30,000 Carlton Mid Benchmark 55 Showcase Handicap (1200m) with New Endeavour (Stirling Osland) a half neck away third. A four-year-old son of Paco Boy Iwatani was having just his 16th start and notched a fourth career win for his owner Kris Thomas. Matthew McGuren rode Iwatani and had him perfectly positioned to launch his winning run down the middle of the Tamworth track. “Yeah Matty just had him where he was comfortable,” Mark Hatch said. “We put the double cheekers on him today and he went a bit straighter too.” While he was an impressive winner today he will “probably go to the paddock”. “We might have a crack at the Country Championships with him,” Mark Hatch said. “It might be a bit high but you never know. You don’t get many chances to run in it and he is lightly raced (four wins in 16 starts) so you have to have a crack while you can.” Today’s meeting was the final HNWRA meeting for the season with Paul Perry (trainer), Rachael Murray (jockey) and Vad Bolyzhinskyi (apprentice) winning HNWRA premierships. Those titles will be awarded at a special night at Tamworth in August. It will be held the same night as the Darren Jones Family Appeal on Thursday, August 24. Guest speakers will be Malcolm Johnston and Hugh Bowman with Greg Radley the emcee and auctioneer. Tickets are $50 and available from the Tamworth Jockey Club (67659387).
RACE 8: Clevanicc is a horse we will see plenty more of, stable foreman Chris Hull promised after the three-year-old gelding’s win at Tamworth today. The son of Nicconi surged to a length and a quarter win over Sierra Nigra in the $30,000 Coreys Catering CG&E Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1400m) after jockey Andrew Gibbons navigated a winning course. Back in the field Gibbons elected to go forward and plonk him down in front of previous leader Super Cooper at the 800m. “I didn’t want to be back behind them walking,” Andrew Gibbons told Kris Lees stable foreman Chris Hull on unsaddling. “I was caught a bit awkward and thought it would be better for them to try and catch me. For a big horse he’s mature in body but not in mind. I think he’s going to be a good 10 furlong (2000m) horse.” Chris Hull agrees: “He’s going to develop into a nice horse,” Chris Hull said. “He hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing yet and is still green.” He said Gibbons mid-race decision to rush forward and take the lead “and let him slide” was the perfect plan. It was Gibbons’s 78th win of a best ever season for the jockey and trainer Kris Lees. Andrew Gibbons finishes the season at Taree tomorrow. “Two more tomorrow would make it an even 80,” he said.