RETIREMENT? No way!
Wyong trainer Wayne Seelin had the last laugh when his ageless warrior Isorich was back in the winning list on his home track, his 16th victory at his 145th start.
And he is confident the 12-year-old gelding’s winning ways aren’t over if he can keep him on firm tracks and get him fitter.
“He’s still too fat,” Seelin said after Isorich ($61), ridden by apprentice Ellen Hennessy, had upstaged his younger rivals in the Report. Report Often Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1200m).
“I weighed him yesterday and he was 563kg. His best weight is 550kg. If I can get some more weight off him, I’m sure he can win again.
“He has pulled up super. He is a happy horse and loves what he is doing. He is still enjoying his work and his racing.”
His latest victory was the gelding’s first since a previous home track win in March last year in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350m), but his trainer never doubted he could return to the winner’s circle provided he got the right conditions.
“He had a long break and isn’t comfortable on wet tracks,” Seelin said. “I’m sure getting back up to 1200m and on his home track helped him today. That was his eighth win at home.”
As is a regular occurrence nowadays, Isorich passed a vet examination before being declared “suitable to race”.
“He is so sound,” Seelin said. “I’ll know when he has had enough, but it’s not yet.”
Racing NSW stewards queried ISORICH’S “apparent form improvement”, and accepted Seelin’s explanation that the gelding was back on his home track and stepped up from 900m at his previous start at Newcastle to 1200m.
Seelin paid $7500 for ISORICH as a 2012 Inglis Scone yearling, and he has returned connections nearly $800,000.
He didn’t race as a two-year-old and made his debut nine years ago when third in a 3YO Maiden Plate (1200m) at Quirindi on November 12, 2013.
That Isorich continues to show a remarkable zest for racing and remains so sound as a 12-year-old when others have called it a day is a great credit to his trainer.
RACE 1: STOP ABUSE AT THE START 4YO & UP MAIDEN (1600m):
Hawkesbury husband and wife trainers Jason and Lucy Attard are unabashed fans of jockey Rachel King – and it’s easy to understand why. Isla’s $16 upset victory over odds-on favourite Diamond Drummer was the couple’s fifth of the season, and King has been aboard four of them.
“Rachel is a very good person, and an excellent jockey,” Jason Attard said. “She was happy with Isla’s last start sixth over 1550m at Canterbury, saying she didn’t sprint like the others in front of her, but kept going right to the line.
“Rachel felt it was best to get rolling on her earlier in today’s race, so we left it to her, and she did the job.”
Isla trailed the leader Miss Shalaa and, after taking over in the straight, was too good for Diamond Drummer (who was subsequently found to have bled from both nostrils) and lightly-raced Zimtopia, who is worth following. Isla’s win was timely as her breeder-owner Kate Nivison (Etak Thoroughbreds) recently lost her dam, the Choisir mare Lohan, who died in early October.
RACE 2: #NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE 4YO & UP MAIDEN (1100m):
Winner Captain George was the subject of a concerted plunge and, having his first start since being gelded, lived up to the support. Rider Kerrin McEvoy gave Captain George the run of the race, trailing leader Exsensible and was a bit too strong for that horse in the closing stages. The pair had the finish to themselves with third placegetter Ma’s Dream finishing gamely to edge out favourite Oakfield Blue Bell, whose rider Aaron Bullock was given stewards’ permission to ride the mare 1kg overweight at 58kg. Stable spokesman Jonathan Crowley said recent trials had settled Captain GEORGE down and that the gelding operation had clearly been of benefit to his racing manners.
RACE 3: RAISE RESPECT MIDWAY MAIDEN (1350m):
Mancconi had to race wide and still won, so left his rivals with no excuses other than fifth placegetter Galactic Angel, who found plenty of trouble. The winner drew awkwardly but finally “came of age” at his 21st start. Trainer Brett Lazzarini revealed one of the gelding’s owners despaired of him winning a race and sold his share last week. “I tried to talk him out of it, as I thought Mancconi was close to breaking through,” he said. “I’ll have to buy him a lemonade now. This horse always tries his best, and that’s why I have kept him in the stable.” Runner-up Edge Of Reward is becoming costly. This was his fourth second placing this preparation. Galactic Angel figured prominently in the stewards’ report and was disappointed for a run at a crucial stage in the straight. Most definitely she should have figured in the finish. Debutant Beauty Crusade ran home nicely from well back to finish fourth and is worth following.
RACE 4: ELIMINATION AGAINST VIOLENCE MAIDEN (1000m):
Another first starter Meod was solidly supported late in betting and justified that backing. Jockey Tom Sherry had her quickly on the move, controlled the race up front and the result was never really in doubt. A $500,000 Inglis Australian Easter yearling purchase last year, the Exceed And Excel three-year-old will almost certainly derive further benefit from this outing as she had trialled only once beforehand when second over 878m on the Kensington track on November 8. The placegetters Dolly Bird and Surrenders tried hard, but the winner always appeared to have their measure. The disappointment was $3.20 favourite Biographer, who was never in the hunt and beat only one home. Rider Andrew Adkins told stewards his mount began awkwardly and was bumped by another runner and as a result settled further back than anticipated. Nonetheless, he added Biographer failed to quicken when asked to improve and felt he was unsuited by the tempo in the early and middle stages.
RACE 5: REPORT. REPORT OFTEN CONDITIONAL BENCHMARK 68 (1200m):
When a 12-year-old Isorich leaves younger rivals in his wake, it’s hard to make genuine excuses for the beaten brigade. However, Ranuncula (6th) was slow to begin and had difficulty securing clear running between the 250m and 150m and couldn’t be fully tested racing in restricted room over the closing stages. Country-trained Cassy’s Sister was game in finishing second, and a plunge on locally trained Dimaggio ($2.15 favourite) came unstuck when he finished third. His apprentice rider Anna Roper told stewards that although he wasn’t the best away and was held up for clear running rounding the home turn, he wasn’t going good enough to improve in between runners approaching the 200m and was one-paced to the line. Moralist (7th) also didn’t have the best of fortune. He was keen in the early stages, raced wide and without cover from the 600m and can be forgiven. Still, all honours must go to the old marvel Isorich and his trainer.
RACE 6: JOHN ELLIOT CLASS 1 (1350m):
Aptly named Bat Out Of Hell (by Hellbent) is putting together a tidy record. This was his second win from only three starts – and he did it in the style of a young horse bound for better things. Rider Kerrin McEvoy, who scored earlier on Captain George, gave him a cosy run, got him into the clear at the right time and the horse did the rest when called on. He had won first-up at Kembla Grange last month and then ran second at Scone earlier this month (conceding the winner a fair slice of weight, although well beaten). Assiduity tried hard when second, giving Darby Racing an enjoyable quinella outcome. Favourite Oakfield Waratah didn’t cover any extra ground from an inside draw and had every chance.
RACE 7: ETTALONG BOWLING CLUB PROVINCIAL BENCHMARK 64 (1100m):
Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle missed out with Edge Of Reward earlier, but didn’t this time with Xpresso, who made a brilliant return to racing. It was the lightly raced five-year-old’s second win from seven starts, and Doyle said the gelding’s owners have had to be patient as he held him back waiting for firmer tracks. Xpresso had not appeared since finishing second to The Himalayas at Hawkesbury on June 30 and produced a brilliant burst on resumption when rider Koby Jennings asked him to go. He had trialled only once when successful over 1000m at Wyong on November 7 and can certainly win again. Though the winner earned deserved plaudits, runner-up Mabel ran her heart out under 59kg, and trainer Tracey Bartley has her firing. She too can soon return to the winning list, having scored first-up at Hawkesbury earlier in the month. Replacement rider Andrew Adkins told stewards favourite Hard To Say ($3.10) may not have handled his 60.5kg impost. Hard To Say led but was under pressure on straightening and weakened to finish fifth.
RACE 8: THE MOUNTIES GROUP 4YO&UP BENCHMARK 64 (1600m):
Much-travelled jockey Jay Ford celebrated his 39th birthday in style by winning the closer on the program. And he didn’t mess about either, making a move on Duke Of Buckingham on the home turn and taking him to an authoritative victory from Da Nang Star and Sian, both of whom were gallant but no match for the impressive winner. Trainer David Pfieffer opted to take blinkers off Duke Of Buckingham, and substitute visors. The move clearly worked, and the five-year-old appears capable of measuring up in better company, having returned to racing with real zest. Dream Eclipse, narrowly beaten here in a recent heat of the Summer Provincial Series on November 5, was strongly supported to return to the winning list, but had every chance in finishing fourth.