RACING never fails to throw up a good story!
Owner Bernie Young, who will be 85 years of age next month and got involved with the game only five years ago, celebrated his first winner with a young horse he purchased online for only $5000.
Four-year-old gelding Putt For Dough, having only his third start after beginning his career at Tamworth last year and his second for Hawkesbury trainer Mick Attard, sank his rivals in the Save The Date – Northlakes Toukley Rotary Race Day Saturday March 25 Provincial Maiden Handicap (1200m).
With Winona Costin, who rode the last two winners at the previous Wyong meeting, aboard, Putt For Dough looked hard to beat on the back of an excellent first-up fourth at Warwick Farm earlier in the month.
But another Hawkesbury representative, Terry Croft’s I’m A Shaker, went to the post as a heavily backed favorite. He was never in the hunt and finished fifth.
“I’ve had four trainers and this is my first winner,” a delighted Young said afterwards.
“I rarely look at a horse’s breeding, but I did with this horse and he had a good pedigree with both his sire and dam having won races.
“My system is to measure horses, and I suppose I’ve done that with about 15,000 of them.
“When I saw Putt For Dough, I said to myself: ‘What an animal as he was up there with Winx’s measurements and I thought I might have half a show of winning a race with him’.
“But I didn’t like his original name Vermeulen and changed it as I remember a golfer telling me many years back that he slogs for show, and putts for dough, and I liked that.”
Young secured Putt For Dough online last October not long after he had finished sixth at Tamworth in a 1000m Maiden when on debut.
It wasn’t a bountiful day for favorite punters with only one successful on the seven-race program.
There were plunges on a number of runners which went astray, and Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Journalism was the only bright light, notching his third win from as many starts as a first-up proposition.
The rail was 3m out for the entire circuit, and a “Good 4” rating was maintained all day in spite of the very warm conditions.
RACE 1: GREAT NORTHERN 4YO & UP MAIDEN(1600m):
THE locals kicked the day off with a winner, and a quinella to boot. Trainer Kristen Buchanan didn’t want STREET CANDI ($2.80) bailed away inside, and jockey Ashley Morgan lived up to his part with an aggressive ride, ensuring the mare saw plenty of daylight. He had her up on the speed with OFFANEASY (4th), and took the front on straightening to break through at her 12th start after six minor placings.
“STREET CANDI has been a bit unlucky through different circumstances at her last few starts, and Ash gave her a lovely ride,” Buchanan said. “The mare has a real desire to win, and it’s great to get a break through for lovely owners.”
Rod Bailey’s AUSSIE LINDBERGH ($26) ran home strongly along the inside to clinch the Wyong quinella, and you had to feel sorry for the backers of well-supported favorite MARALAGO ($2.60), who got strung up inside runners before the home turn as the leaders got away. He got into the clear on straightening and made up many lengths to finish third – but the bird had flown! Definitely ready to break his maiden status. Racing NSW stewards questioned jockey James Innes Jnr, who said he had intended to settle in a more prominent position, but the gelding did not show sufficient speed. OFFANEASY’S rider Lee Magorrian was suspended on a careless riding charge from January 24 until January 27.
RACE 2: SAVE THE DATE – NORTHLAKES TOUKLEY ROTARY RACE DAY SAT MARCH 25 PROVINCIAL MAIDEN (1200m):
HAWKESBURY trainers had four of the seven starters, so it was no surprise one of them collected the cash. But the majority of punters went the wrong way, plunging on unplaced I’M A SHAKER (5th), who was heavily backed to start a dominant $2.40 favorite. He was never travelling like a winner and was under pressure before the home turn. Apprentice Tyler Schiller told stewards I’m A SHAKER laid in for the majority of the race. Not so with the lightly-raced PUTT FOR DOUGH ($3.60), who travelled sweetly outside eventual third placegetter DEVILRY ($8), and cleared out for the easiest of victories, with Winona Costin in the saddle.
Trainer Mick Attard was understandably rapt with the four-year-old’s performance, especially as he was having only his second start for him after owner Bernie Young purchased him online last October for what is now a bargain $5000 (today’s first prize was $21,000). Young didn’t fancy the gelding’s original name Vermeulen and changed it after buying him. After conferring with son and racing manager Chris, Attard will look to make it two in a row with PUTT FOR DOUGH in a Class 1 Handicap in the coming weeks.
“He looks a nice horse,” Attard said. As Wyong grabbed the first race quinella, Hawkesbury did the same here with $101 rank outsider WINGED BEAUTY finishing second on debut, albeit more than three lengths astern.
RACE 3: TAB CLASS 1 (1200m):
It shaped as a two-horse race in the betting ring – and that’s exactly how it panned out. While PAR FIVE ($3.40) had noluck at his last start at Gosford, jockey Tim Clark ensured there was no chance of a repeat by taking up the running, with HAMAKI ($3.10 fav) in close attendance. In keeping with the golf theme following the previous race winner, PAR FIVE got a break on straightening and held off HAMAKI, who tried really hard and is surely deserving of another victory soon. Clark said he felt PAR FIVE would be even better suited on a bigger track, and stressed that his mount kept lifting even though the winning margin was narrow. It was only PAR FIVE’S sixth start and his second since breaking through at Scone last August, after which he went for a break.
Hellbent filly OFF DA HIZZLE ($8) was doing her best work late to grab third placing, and is another who can win again in the coming weeks after scoring on debut at Gosford late last month. Recent Warwick Farm winner MAD DARCEY was a late withdrawal at the start after becoming fractious in his barrier stall, rearing and striking his head. Stewards have ordered MAD DARCEY to trial satisfactorily before clearing him to race again.
RACE 4: SKY RACING MIDWAY MAIDEN (1000m):
WARWICK Farm trainer Gabby Ellis produced a smart debutante in FOURTH SPARGO ($6), who left her rivals with no excuses. The Bon Hoffa three-year-old won a hotly contested lead early and did a terrific job to keep going and score nicely.
“I expected her to run well, but that exceeded my expectations,” Ellis said. “She was very impressive, especially as it is her first preparation. I might give her a break now, and I’m sure she has a nice future.”
Winning rider Jay Ford agreed. “She is raw but keeps improving,” he said.
FOURTH SPARGO is the second foal of the four-times winner Moroccan Ruby, and lost her off fore plate in running, adding further merit to her success. Runner-up ROYAL EMPRESS ($4.80) and third home TANGLEWOOD ($18), like the winner, were also having their first starts and ran well. Locally-trained VILLA TINO ($3.90 favorite) appeared to have every chance. She trailed the leaders on the fence into the straight but didn’t finish off well enough.
RACE 5: WYONG RACE CLUB’S HALF YEAR MEMBERSHIP $30 F&M BM 64 (1100m):
Tim Clark grabbed a double, but it was oh so close! He drove SEVEN SISTERS ($3.60) home hard to foil a concerted plunge on recent Nowra winner ROTORUA, who kept firming and started at $2.50. All honours with the winner, who was widest on the home turn before sustaining a determined burst to get there in the nick of time.
Stable spokesman Darren Beadman said SEVEN SISTERS came to the races on the back of two quiet trials and with blinkers on.
“She didn’t jump as well as we had hoped, and did a good job to win,” he said. “She is in for a nice preparation.”
The Godolphin filly was having her first start since last July and as a three-year-old, and conceded the runner-up 4.5kg, so there was plenty to like about her performance. ROTORUA had a nice run in transit and was caught right on the post. Locally-trained DUAL ESCAPE ($26) flew the stalls to lead and gave her supporters a great sight, leading well into the straight before holding on gamely to clinch third placing. JAYANTHI (4th) could not be fully tested over the closing stages when right on the heels of DUAL ESCAPE.
RACE 6: HUCKEL EXCAVATIONS CG&E BM64 (1350m):
A couple of plunges had gone west earlier – but this one didn’t. JOURNALISM was solidly supported to start a $2.50 favorite, ousting DIRTY MERCHANT (4th at $2.90), and maintained his unbeaten first-up record, which total his three career victories to date.
Jockey Josh Parr tried to lead from an awkward draw but couldn’t and wisely took a sit behind THEO LEGION and DIRTY MERCHANT before making his move approaching the home turn. In spite of his 60.5kg, he sprinted strongly in the straight to defeat PIRAEUS ($11), who had enjoyed a cosy run on the fence and ran home solidly along the inside. MIHOCEK ($8.50) caught the eye, hitting the line hard after beginning awkwardly and will be better suited on a roomier circuit.
Stable spokesman Neil Paine said co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott had worked hard to amend the winner’s barrier manners.
“JOURNALISM hasn’t been jumping all that well, and it was good to see him leave the stalls in the manner he did today. He has been a tricky horse, but that was a good win today and hopefully he can go on with it now.”
RACE 7: WYONG’S FAMILY FUN DAY THIS SUNDAY JANUARY 22, 2023 F&M BM 64 (1350m):
Two winners in two days for leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup and 37 times Group 1 winning rider Brett Prebble, who has hit the ground running since relocating from Melbourne. The pair scored with first starter SHALAA’S MOMENT at Newcastle yesterday, and this time with $16 chance THE HALO, whose margin belied her double figure odds.
“She didn’t have the best of luck first-up at Gosford, and her appearance this morning suggested to me that she would run well today,” Widdup said.
A $130,000 Melbourne yearling buy for Tricolours Racing, THE HALO had won a 1400m Maiden at Bathurst last July and showed she is clearly up to Provincial company at least. She trailed the leader LA JOLIE FILLE ($4.40), put paid to her quickly on straightening and won easily. LINGUEE ($17) again did her best work late to grab second, with PINK BAROQUE ($4.40) snatching third from LA JOLIE FILLE in the last bound. Jockey Josh Parr couldn’t offer a plausible explanation for the defeat of The UNICORN (5th as a $2.10 favorite), other than she might not have been comfortable on the tight turning circuit.