By Geoff Newling
RACE 1: Patience paid major dividends for his Dubbo stable in today’s first race of Tamworth Jockey Club’s Hurricane Fall Country Music Cup meeting. Larlabrook was having his first start but the unraced three-year-old gelding son of Ready’s Image was brilliant on debut, winning the $30,000 Kyle Cartner Music 3YO Maiden Showcase Plate (1000m) by three quarters of a length. Prepared at Dubbo by Clint Lundholm Larlabrook surged to victory from Michelle Fleming’s debutante, The Lion, with former Caliente D’Oro, trained by former Tamworth trainer Barry Lockwood, now based in Brisbane, a half length away third. While winning well Larlabrook kept Dubbo-based jockey Greg Ryan busy. “He ran well,” Greg Ryan told excited connections on dismounting. He kept looking over his shoulder looking for all his mates. I had a stranglehold on just to keep him on the track.” Clint Lundholm was delighted his patience had paid off. “We’ve had to take our time with him,” he said. “Had a few little issues with him, nothing major, just had to hold him back. And this race was perfect for him too. Greg’s had an opinion of for a year or so but we’ve just taken our time with him.”
RACE 2: Paddy Cunningham is hoping a change of luck for today’s Tamworth winner, Tan Tat Nova, continues at tomorrow’s Deepwater Cup meeting with Carry Me Gee Gee. Tan tat Nova was a good thing beaten at last week’s Glen Innes meeting but bounced back to win today’s Aleyce Simmonds More than Meets The Eye Maiden Showcase Handicap (1600m) despite copping a couple of hefty bumps from runner-up Dynamic Ahms. Terry Treichel rode Tan Tat Nova and reckoned a good effort “after copping a couple of good bumps”. Paddy Cunningham said it was a deserving win after ill-fortune at Glen Innes. “Had no luck there,” he said. “Got shuffled back at the thousand and ran on for third.” He’s hoping Carry Me Gee, an unlucky second to stablemate Hula Girl, has better lucky in tomorrow’s Deepwater Cup. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a runner in it,” he said of the country Cup. “I did win it as a jockey though.” Tan Tat Nova was having his third run for Cunningham. “He was trained by Peter Moody but they said he wasn’t up to Saturday metro standard and got rid of him. I bought him off the internet. He did everything wrong when he first came to me but when I started him at Coffs he would have run a hole if he’d had some luck. I knew he’d win one even though he is an ordinary trackworker.” Based at Glen Innes where he has 16 in work Cunningham has been enjoying a great run culminating in last week’s Glen Innes Cup trifecta with Hula Girl, Carry Me Gee Gee and Our Minaan. Carry Me Gee Gee is his only runner at Deepwater tomorrow. “I hope they are not copping this rain,” he said during a brief afternoon shower at Tamworth or the storm we got at home (Glen Innes) this morning.”
RACE 3: Our Minaan romped to victory in today’s Amber Lawrence Happy Ever After Benchmark 55 Showcase Handicap (1600m) revelling in the stormy and wet conditions. Third in last week’s Glen Innes Cup, the Paddy Cunningham-trained grey mare gave nothing else a chance when jockey Terry Treichel hit the go button about 500m from home. The seven-year-old, winner of three of her previous 31 starts, streaked to a four and half length win from Bonnie Sare with Cool Prince three quarters of a length away third. Paddy Cunningham said there was no pre-conceived plan to go early approaching the turn after Treichel made a lightning move to set up a winning advantage rounding the turn. “I just leave it to the jockey,” the former jockey said. “Her run at Glen was real good but she’s a better miler (than the 1400m of the Glen Cup). And with the sting out of the ground she’s an even better horse.” Just where she goes now though is Cunningham’s only problem. He could only shrug about finding a run for her as he celebrated a race to race double with Tan Tat Nova and Our Minaan.
RACE 4: Tamworth-born and bred Bullet Kid had the right ammunition to win today’s $40,000 Shelley Minson Rockabilly Man Country Maiden Showcase Plate (1200m). The Craig Martin-trained gelding sliced his way from the back of the field with a brilliant piece of navigation by Peter Graham to run down favourite and leader, Snipex Abaa (Geoff O’Brien) to score a three quarter length win. While Graham sooled him from wide and back in the pack to take an inside run Daniel Northey was hurtling Rod Northam’s Yueldo on the other side of the favourite to grab second. Mick Paulo bred Bullet Kid at his property “Wongaburra” on King George Avenue in Tamworth before moving to Canberra two years ago. A committeeman on the Tamworth Jockey Club at the time he remembers his Tamworth days at the TJC and racing with great fondness. “Give Craig a wrap too, he’s done a great job with him,” Mick Paul said. “Great to come home and win a race like this. It’s great prizemoney ($40,000) in the bush for owners, breeders and trainers.” Craig Martin was delighted to win such a good country maiden. “He’s been going good this horse,” he said of a son of Bite The Bullet, who had suffered three successive placings before today’s win. “After his last run (second at Tamworth) I thought he may as well have a crack at this race and just kept him fresh for it. If he didn’t win there was a 1400m maiden at Walcha.” He said Bullet Kid is still likely to head to Walcha for Class 3 1400m. For Mick Paul the trips back home might be more frequent too. He’s a full brother to The Waco Kid,” he said of Bullet Kid. “He’s won four for Paul (St Vincent) and was the favourite for the Country Championships at one stage a couple of years ago. He’s in work as well and Saint also has a half-brother, The Red Chief too.”
RACE 5: Lukey loves the wet and delighted in the afternoon storms that changed today’s Tamworth track from a Good 4 to Soft 7 as he ploughed his way to a fourth career win in the $30,000 Hurricane Fall Country Music Cup Class 3 Showcase Handicap (1400m). Trained at Dubbo by Dar Lunn the six-year-old gelding son of Arena swamped his rivals setting up a two and three quarter length win over Justin Stanley’s Coming In Hot with Troy O’Neile’s Bianbitten a fighting half length third. Anthony “Choc” Cavallo had his first ride on Lukey and was suitably impressed. "We went a bit wide looking for the best part of the going,” Cavallo said. “He travelled sweet and i didn’t have to hit him with the whip. I could feel him let down well.” Dar Lunn knew Lukey would be a contender as soon as the storms hit. “He likes the going,” he said. “And he’s had no luck in all his recent runs. I just told Choc to ride him positive, I knew he was going to be hard to beat. he’s a horse who has been running real good races but with no luck.” He doesn’t have a race in mind but will return and look for a race. “Find a wet track somewhere,” he laughed.
RACE 6: Valbeata might have earned herself a crack at the Taree heat of the Country Championships after a devastating finish to today’s $30,000 Two Gals Class 1 Showcase Handicap (1200m). The lightly framed daughter of Ad Valorem travelled wide for 3kg-claiming apprentice Chloe Baker and set sail for home the widest runner, mowing down Trades Hall for a second career win. The Bob Milligan-trained filly was having her sixth start today and motored home brilliantly for Baker on a Heavy 8 track. Glenn Milligan, son of the trainer, was in charge of the stables runners and delighted with a race-win they thought she was quite up to. "She’s a nice little filly,” Glen Milligan said. “If she keeps improving she might get a crack at the Country Championships heat at home (Taree). Chloe rode her very well too. But this little filly has done everything we’ve asked her to do and just keeps getting better and better. We can’t believe she didn’t win a race in her first prep. In her first three starts she did a lot of things wrong.”
RACE 7: Sargent Doakes made it two wins from two starts at Tamworth when he arrived wide and late to win today’s $30,000 Brett Clarke Music Tamworth Summer Showcase Sprint (1000m). The Rod Northam-trained gelding notched win number six in 18 starts when surged late to beat Capitano (Jacob Perrett) by three quarters of a length with the Sue Grills-trained Hammoon Boy a head away third. On a heavy track Sargent Doakes clocked 59.08secs for regular rider Leanne Henry. “He’s going really well,” Leanne Henry said after the win. "I didn’t mean to go as wide as I did but in the end it was a lot better out there.” Rachel Northam, ex-wife of trainer Rod, was in charge of the stable's horses and she was thrilled the four-year-old gelding son of I Am Invincible had won again after a successful debut at Tamworth three starts back. "Leanne got him to the right part of the track. She knows him inside out, rides him work every morning. And he’s such an honest little horse.” Rod Northam was delighted too. He’d asked Leanne Henry to “jump travel and get wide” and she followed that perfectly. “He’s been a good horse for us, won the scone 2YO and then the Grafton 2YO. A super little horse who ran third in the Country Championships last year.” He will keep Sargeant Doakes “fresh” and look for more sprint races over similar distances at this stage.
RACE 8: Chloe Baker handed Bob Milligan a winning double at Tamworth today when the three kilogram claiming apprentice steered Hesco Gold high wide and handsome in the final race of the Tamworth Jockey Club’s Hurricane Fall Country Music Cup meeting. Hesco Gold arrived wide to notch a one and quarter length win from the Scott Thompson-trained So You Know. Two lengths away third was Allan Kehoe’s Three Hats. Baker had partnered brilliant filly Valbeata to victory a few races earlier in the program and produced a similar wide ranging run to win aboard the five-year-old daughter of Eavesdropper. “We didn’t think she’d handle it,” Chloe baker said of the heavy conditions. "But she was travelling on the corner. She just let down and loved it.” Glen Milligan, son of trainer Bob Milligan, had thought about scratching the mare after two storms broke across the track mid afternoon. “I was half thinking about scratching her, she’d never done anything on a wet track,” he said. "But we decided to run her.” The surprise handling was a happy surprise. For Glen Milligan the trip home to Taree would be a late homecoming before heading to work in the morning and then heading to Dubbo tomorrow afternoon for the Dubbo Yearling sale. The Milligans have 10 in work at the moment after culling 16 in recent weeks. They have been hit by the regular arrival of more provincial stables such as the Perry, Lees and Denham establishments making it harder for the locals to compete. Hence, a move to clear out and look for new and young horses through the sales.