Comeback jockey Sam Clenton continued her winning run taking out the TWIN LAKES AIR AND SOLAR BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP over 1350m on High Rush.
Clenton returned to the saddle just over a month ago after spending two and a half years recovering from spinal injuries, she suffered in a serious race fall.
During that time, she also gave birth to her now 16-month-old son, before setting her sights on a comeback.
Clenton, who had been the state’s leading apprentice at the time of her fall, has now ridden eight winners since her return.
She said it was a “tough win” by High Rush.
“I was caught a bit wide, but the tempo suited her so that’s all that matters,” Clenton said.
“She let down good. She’s definitely strengthened this time in and is going in the right direction.”
Trainer Jason Deamer said the High Chaparral mare, who has now had 12 starts for four wins and two seconds, always tried hard.
“She did well today. They weren’t going too fast and Sam just had her where she was travelling. She was caught three-wide, but she was comfortable there and there wasn’t much she could do about it.
“It’s only half a corner here and she was strong in the finish. She travelled just nice today and didn’t want to go too hard.
“She has always been a handy country horse, not that she’s been overly raced, I’ve just kept her a little on the fresh side because she sprinted so well first up so I thought I’d give her another go in a shorter one and it has paid dividends.
“She always tries hard and gives a 100 percent.”
High Rush ($5.50), a $7000 yearling purchase, made it back to back victories following a last start win at Scone.
She beat Showminder ($2.50fav) from the Portelli stable by three quarters of a length, with the Lees trained I Am Awesome ($12) a close third.
Proven Thoroughbreds and Joe Pride look to have unveiled a filly with plenty of potential with Romalette ($3.60) scoring an impressive three and a quarter length win over the 1350m.
Having only her second start the Epaulette three-year-old, a $90,000 yearling purchase, pulled away in the final stages of the straight after jockey Corey Brown had stalked the leader for much of the race.
Adam Hyeronimus had taken the lead on the Waterhouse/Bott trained $1.95 favourite Dubai Harbour, kicking two lengths clear on straightening.
When Brown asked Romalette for an effort she cruised up the leader and pulled away for a dominant win.
Brown, who brought up a winning double on Romalette, described her as a “nice filly.”
“Even though she won as she liked today, she didn’t really handle the track that well,” he said.
“She wasn’t quite sure on the turn, it was a bit sharp for her.
“In saying that she will run forever. She is a nice filly who is going to get up over plenty of ground.
“They are going to have plenty of fun with her.”
Hayley Blithe-Devlin Rorison representing Joe Pride said the filly had really appreciated the step up to the 1350m.
“Corey rode her beautifully. She had a nice run behind the speed and put it all together at the end. She seemed to be comfortable where he rode her and coming around the turn, he looked like he had a double handful of horse and that’s how it worked out.
“It’s good to see fillies like her who haven’t had a lot of race experience to kick hard in the straight and put it away like she did.”
A large contingent of owners, including Jamie Walter from Proven Throughbreds, were on hand to cheer the filly back into the winners’ circle.
Minor placings in the RUSSELL MAY “SPIDER” MEMORIAL MAIDEN PLATE went to the Graham Payne trained Nobody’s Perfect ($19), with Bernson ($31) from the John Thompson stable third.
A group of deserving owners finally made it to the winners’ circle after Impurity broke through for her maiden win after seven second placings.
The Ron Leemon trained mare had to dig deep to take out the 1200m GO ELECTRICAL TUGGERAH MAIDEN HANDICAP with Jason Collett in the saddle.
In a close three-way finish Impurity ($3.30fav) held on to beat the Laurie Wray trained second favourite Haunting Spirit ($4) by a head, with the Godolphin runner Arboreal ($4.40) a long neck behind in third.
The win came in the Buriton mare’s 18th start and following seven seconds and a third at metropolitan tracks over the past year.
Leemon said it was great to finally be able to reward the owners for their patience.
“For a minute there I thought she was going to get second again,” a relieved Leemon said.
“She’s a very, very honest mare but she gives her best every time. She’s a hard mare to train because she wants to go hard so it was good to see her win.
“She’s a tough little thing, she’s been up for a while and really is a tough mare.
“It’s great for the owners to finally be rewarded because they have been very patient.”
Leemon said he would likely give Impurity a short let up before her next race.
Jason Collett, who has ridden Impurity in her last four starts, said she is still improving.
“She’s quite a busy mare but each time I’ve ridden her she has improved, and she finally got the job done today.
“She hasn’t been disappointing and has been earning a paycheck every time but just missing out.”
A race to race double for Jason Collett bringing up the first win for the Chris Waller trained Costas.
The Tavisoc gelding was having his sixth career start in the 1600m BLITZ HOMES MAIDEN having previously notched up three minor placings, the latest a third at Hawkesbury on March 20.
He was sent out at $2.40, with the runner up, the Anthony Cummings trained Royal Anthem $2.30 favourite.
Collett followed his riding instructions to a tee and was able to settle the three-year-old in the lead, drawing away in the final stages to score a length and three-quarter victory.
“My instructions were to be prominent and he made it easy for me,” Collett said.
“He was comfortable in front and got in a nice rhythm early. When they started to creep up to me, I gave him a bit of rein he quickened nicely.
“He is bred to get over more ground and I think he will handle it.”
Coffs Harbour galloper Guest ($12), trained by Jim Jarvis, was a half-length behind in third.
A drop in class and a cool ride by Robbie Dolan proved to be the winning combination for the Paul Perry trained Surjin who took out the 1600m EVENT CINEMAS TUGGERAH CONDITIONAL PROVINCIAL CUP – CLASS 4 HANDICAP in a thrilling four way finish.
Dolan took advantage of the tempo and rode Surjin toward the rear of the field, pulling to the outside on straightening where he was able to steam home over the top of his opposition and claim a narrow victory.
The well-bred Stratum entire had been racing without luck in stronger company in recent outings, including the Provincial Championship Qualifier at Wyong.
“He deserved the win today. He’s had no luck in his last two starts and has been ridden four and five wide,” stable foreman Nathan Perry said.
“In those tougher races you need to draw well and have luck on your side, and he didn’t but he didn’t disgrace himself either.
“Stepping up in distance today and with a patient ride by Robbie, although I was a little bit worried, he got the job done.
“It’s great to see for the owners. They have been patient and have had a lot of bad luck and bad draws this prep so it’s good to see him get a win.”
The win brought up a double for Dolan.
“I thought I might have left my run a little too late, “a relieved Dolan said.
“He’s a nice horse to deal with and has a high cruising speed. He got into a beautiful rhythm the whole race and had a little bit left in the tank over tiring horses in the end.”
Surjin ($7), beat the Kylie Gavenlock trained Wild About Her ($4.80) by a short half head, with John Sargent’s $3.80 race favourite Tinkermosa, third.
Plenty of praise for the Gary Portelli trained Walk The Runway after her impressive win in the 1000m WWW.TAB.COM.AU CLASS 2.
The well-bred mare, by All Too Hard out of Group 1 winning mare Fashions Afield, looks to have a bright future with an unblemished record in two starts.
Bred and raced by Gerry Harvey, Walk The Runway, was sent out $2.70 favourite on the strength of her debut win at Gosford on January 11 and two subsequent trials.
Apprentice Robbie Dolan took the four-year-old to an early lead and was able to fight off a challenge by the Lees trained Power Rush ($3.60) in the straight to score a grinding half neck win.
Dolan said the mare had given him a really good feeling.
“She’s very fast and is still putting it together. She gave me a beautiful feel, it’s onwards and upwards for this horse,” he said.
“She had a bit of a blow there and I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes on a lot from that run.”
Stable representative Dave Keating was impressed with the victory and said the mare would be headed to a metropolitan race.
“She really knuckled down, it was a good tough win,” he said. “She’s had a few problems and now the two wins from two starts so it would be nice to get her to a mid-week now.
“She’s been off the scene for a while, so it was a good effort by Gary and the team.”
Wyong galloper Little Steiny ($9.50), trained by Louise Munce, was third.
Debutante Power Lift ($3.80) stamped himself as a horse of the future with a strong win over 1000m in the POLYTRACK 3YO MAIDEN PLATE.
Trained by Kris Lees and ridden by Corey Brown, the three-year-old by Great Britain sire Power, had a tough run when caught wide in the early stages but was still able to knuckle down in the straight and run down the leaders to win by half a neck.
“He’s a really nice horse,” stable representative Cameron Swan said.
“We thought he’d have the speed to lead but he was posted early when Corey couldn’t get across.
“He still has plenty of learning to do but I think he has a really good future. He’s had two trials and got better each time and today we’ve brought him to the races, and he’s improved again.
“He is also bred to get over more ground so that’s a bonus.”
Brown described the win as a “tough effort.”
“He jumped well but just didn’t muster the early speed. He is a lovely horse and he still doesn’t know a lot so there is plenty of upside to him.”
Power Lift was a $60,000 purchase at the New Zealand Select Yearling sale and is raced by well-known owner Phillip Pollicina from Ravenswood Bloodstock, who also raced the runner-up in the 1000m Class 2 Power Rush.
Serbelloni ($12) from the Perry stable was second, a half-length ahead of Satirical Knight ($3.80) trained by John Sargent.
A trip to the Brisbane Carnival could be on the agenda for Natabadharada ($11) after his convincing win in the 2100m CARLTON DRAUGHT BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP.
Trained by Jim and Greg Lee the Haradasun gelding was coming off a fourth at Hawkesbury over 1800m where he was beaten by White Turf.
The winner finished a close fourth in the Group 3 Packer Plate at Randwick on Saturday, giving the Lee stable plenty of confidence heading into the Wyong race.
“He has been racing well with some good form around him and we thought he would go well today,” Ocky Kerehi, representing the Lee stable said.
“It was a good ride from Adam (Hyeronimus) and great for the horse to bring up another win.”
Kerehi said he thought the stable would consider a trip to Brisbane with the three-year-old, who has now had two wins and two placings from 11 starts.
“I don’t think it would be out of the question. We will see how he pulls up and go from there,” he said.
Hyeronimus settled Notabadharada toward the rear of the field throughout, taking an inside run on straightening and cruising past the leaders to win by a half-length.
He beat Home Made ($5) from the John Sargent stable, with local galloper The Iron Maiden ($16) trained by Jeff Englebrecht third.