By Geoff Newling
Race 1: Cejay Graham struck another blow for Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester at Scone today. The Port Macquarie apprentice sailed down the centre of the track to win the Protect Our Industry Maiden Plate (1600m) aboard three-year-old Starcraft filly Lucky Starlet. It was Graham’s third win for Sylvester and followed an immaculate rails-hugging win on Lasszou at Cessnock last Monday. The teenage apprentice has now ridden a dozen winners in a short period since beginning her apprenticeship. It was also her first ride at Scone and she said her father, well respected coastal jockey Peter Graham, had called her a couple of times with information on how best to ride the spacious Scone track. “I’m so glad for all the opportunities Jeremy has given me,” Cejay added. Jeremy Sylvester was delighted for her. “It’s her third win for me and her first ride here at scone,” Jeremy Sylvester told Sky Thoroughbred Central’s Greg Radley. “I was lucky, Greg Bennett gave me this horse and she improved both starts,” he said. “She finished the race off the way she finished off her work the other day.” He thought she would be hard to beat on that effort and watched on admiringly as both horse and rider lived up to their recent form.
Race 2: Invincible Bot is named after legendary trainer Bill “Bot” Thompson and could be headed for similar heights after the three-year-old gelding boxed on bravely to win today’s Cressfield Maiden Handicap (1300m) at Scone. The Scott Thompson-trained son of I am Invincible was a sitting duck in the straight but refused to yield and was actually forging clear on the post to beat Win The Lottery and Artella today. He was also Rachael Murray’s 118th win in a magical season for the Scone-based jockey. She is sure he will go on and win some better races. “He’s very raw, very impressive. I think he’s got a lovely future.” Scott Thompson agrees. “I think he will be even better next time in,” Scott Thompson said. “He’s still not right in the coat. I think he’ll come back a better horse once he has a break. And a bit further won’t hurt either.”
Race 3: Texas Tycoon might be green but his finish was all gold as the Wyong gelding swept to victory in today’s Newgate Stallions Maiden Plate (1100m) at Scone. The Kristen Buchanan-trained son of Written Tycoon was having just his second start and coming off a good third on debut around the tighter and trickier Wyong circuit. The long and wide Scone track is perfect for the big bay gelding and his jockey Serg Lisnyy said he relished the big roomy track. “He’s still very new and green,” Serg Lisnyy said. “He’ll be a good horse later on.” Kristen Buchanan said Texas Tycoon was “still working it out”. “He’s a five-year-old and only had two starts, been a slow maturer. It was a good run at Wyong on the tighter track and was a good starting point for him.”
Race 4: Tough. That seems to be the word permeating the rising career of Scone gelding Big Ben The Clock and it was in cheerful abundance today after the Rod Northam-trained gelding won the Artie Schiller Benchmark 60 Handicap (1100m) at Scone. The three-year-old son of Benfica outstayed his rivals to win by three quarters of a length from Armidale gelding Whakatane with the Les Tilley-prepared Suggestapartner a half length away third. Big Ben The Clock was having his 11th race start and snared his third win when he stepped up in class in promising fashion. “He’s a tough big horse,” Rod Northam said. “Peter Graham (who won on him at Dubbo) reckons he’s the toughest horse he’s ridden. He just keeps giving. And I think he’ll get better next prep too when he matures and fills out a bit more.” Greg Ryan had his first ride on the gelding and he too was impressed by the staying ability of the Scone gelding. “He’s tough, just keeps digging and toughs it out.” Ryan ensured he kept a good tempo in Big Ben The Clock’s legs. “He just outstayed them.”
Race 5: Navua Mist landed successive wins at Scone today with another impressive front-running display to win the Pryde’s EasiFeed Benchmark 65 Handicap (1100m). The Kris Lees-trained daughter of Exceed And Excel had led all the way to win her previous start, at Scone, an 1100m Class 2 on July 14. Andrew Gibbons had ridden her that day and was thinking there might be more pace on today. However, that didn’t eventuate and he was able to lead without setting any outrageous rate up front. “I thought they might go quicker,” Andrew Gibbons said. “Thought I might be second or third today but I was able to get a nice lead and then kick away at the turn. She put a gap in them.” It was a winning break although the Cody Morgan-trained Mossman’s Gold surged late to make it interesting. However, Navua Mist held on to make four wins in 20 starts and hand Gibbons his 75th for the season, his best yet in a season where Kris Lees has also trained well over 150 winners to better his previous best of 130. Stable foreman Mal Ollerton loves saddling up winners at his old home town and thinks Navua Mist can win a few more too. “She’s going nicely,” Mal Ollerton said. “We thought there might be a bit more speed in the race but it worked out well for her.”
Race 6: All Stand could be headed to Sydney for a Highway Handicap after the lightly-raced Cessnock gelding won today’s Exosphere @ Darley Stallions Class 1 Handicap (1000m). The three-year-old son of I Am Invincible led and cruised to victory, his second at just three starts, to impress all and sundry. Sky Thoroughbred Central’s Greg Radley think he is the “perfect Highway horse”. “He’s got a promising future,” Greg Radley told trainer Todd Howlett after the impressive win as he proposed a Highway Handicap might be on his schedule. Todd Howlett agreed. “There’s a Highway race early next month and a couple more after that,” Howlett said. “He’s a nice horse, travelled beautifully. He was up in class and weight too.” Greg Radley said a 1200m Class 2 Highway Handicap is scheduled for August 12 and that looks ideal. Rachel King was having her first ride on the three-year-old, who was sold to Hong Kong for $150,000 but failed a vet test on a minor issue. She was impressed too. “There is a lot of upside there,” she said. “He’s got a lot to learn but has a big future.”
Race 7: Makfi Lass turned the tables on fellow Scone filly Don’t Doubt Her to win today’s 1st Vancouver Foals in 2007 Class 3 Handicap (1400m). The Brett Cavanough-trained daughter of Makfi had to settle for a 1.8 length second to Don’t Doubt Her on home soil at her previous start when she weaved through the middle of the field. Bratt Cavanough said that was probably a mistake to try and go through the field. Instead he planned with Rachel King to sit back and look for a swooping run down the middle of the track. “That was the plan, to sling off her (Don’t Doubt Her) back. Today she came around them.” Rachel King wasn’t concerned when Makfi Lass missed the jump by a length as she planned to be at the back anyway. “I was happy to be where we were today,” she said. “I knew she could roll over the top of them because she’s very strong.” She said Makfi Lass isn’t “very big” and “copping a bump really affects her”. Brett Cavanough said a Highway Handicap might in her sights now. “She might earn a little Highway start now,” he said. “She can run very good sectionals in work.”