Rookie Hawkesbury trainer Peter Green won’t forget the annual Bong Bong Cup picnic meeting. While a storm hit the track last Friday and forced the abandonment of the last two races (including the Cup), it certainly wasn’t a washout for Green.
He celebrated his first success as a trainer with a horse he and his brother Clinton purchased cheaply to help him get his licence and a start in the industry. Former Victorian Prime Justice ($2.80 favourite) won the Class 1/Maiden Plate (2300m) to clinch the $5100 first prize – a nice return for the Green brothers on the $700 they outlaid to purchase the now five-year-old last year.
Prime Justice ran last of 10 runners in a Cranbourne barrier trial on November 23, 2015 and had not raced when the brothers bought him online at bloodstockauction.com.
“We bought him sight unseen to help get me going when I took out my licence,” Green said this morning. “Naturally, it was a terrific thrill to win my first race with him, even though he has given us plenty of anxious moments.
“Prime Justice has got a real sidestep and tossed his rider Maddison Wright on the way back to the enclosure after the race at Bong Bong. It’s not the first time he has done it, either. It has happened a few times at the track at Hawkesbury.”
Prime Justice was having his 15th start last Friday. He had managed three placings prior to scoring at Bong Bong. Training racehorses might be a new venture for Green, but he has had plenty of experience with standardbreds.
“I took out my trainer-driver’s licence when I was 16 and had a lot of success both in NSW and New Zealand. Then I jumped the fence and worked as a harness racing steward in NSW and then WA.”
Green returned to Sydney from the west in 2008 and had nothing to do with horses, working in his family’s engineering business until the racing “bug” bit him again. Prior to Bong Bong, Green had saddled 33 runners for 11 placings – including Quite Unexpected, who has been placed at seven of his 15 starts, and is yet to break through.
“Quite Unexpected is back in training, and I’ve got six others in work,” Green said. “I would like more to fill up the barn.”
Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Garry Frazer returned home from last Saturday’s Gosford meeting with a winner – but had hoped it would be a double. Frazer scored with Identic ($2.90 fav) in the Class 2 Handicap (1000m). The I Am Invincible mare has been a good performer for the stable, notching three wins and as many placings from only eight starts. However, he was disappointed when debutant In The Zone, a solidly supported $4.40 chance, could finish only seventh in the 3YO Maiden Plate (1100m).
An impressive barrier trial winner at home on November 13, In The Zone did not muster any early speed and was never a winning hope, although he did make ground in the run home from last approaching the home turn.