Savaju is building quite the record at her home track, with a third Bendigo victory coming on Wednesday to the delight of trainer Shaun Dwyer and connections.
Coming off her only defeat at the track — a narrow second on Golden Mile day behind Sebring Sun — and dropping from a benchmark 84 to a benchmark 70, the filly was sent out $4.60 favourite against the older horses. The daughter of Savabeel settled behind the leaders and was strong through the line over 1100 metres to score.
“She came out of the barriers like an Oakleigh Plater and it took me 50 to 100 metres to get her to settle. She switched off nice and she hit the line strongly,’’ said jockey Stephen Baster, who ended the day with a double.
Savaju has contested four Melbourne races in her only runs away from Bendigo, including a five-length fifth behind I Am a Star in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes in March.
Bee Jay’s back
Shane Fliedner’s patience was rewarded at his home circuit on Wednesday when Bee Jay Zed was welcomed back to the winner’s stall for the first time in 12 months.
After spending six months on the sidelines with ligament problems behind a knee, the five-year-old has returned in excellent form. His victory followed a narrow first-up second at Ballarat 17 days earlier.
Sent out a $4 chance with Damian Lane aboard, the horse led all the way and held off the challenge of a dogged Pravro.
“He did everything but win first up — he borders on city class and he’ll probably pick one up in town,” Fliedner told Racing.com.
Erin breaks ice
Erin Maher had a red-letter day on Easter Saturday with a two-state double at Warracknabeal and Tocumwal.
The wins, more than 350 kilometres apart, by Holy Host and Rossatin were Maher’s first since her relocation to Bendigo early this year.
Maher travelled to Warracknabeal to saddle up Holy Host ($3.70 favourite), who was coming off a second at Kyneton 26 days earlier but was dropping from 1875 to 1600 metres.
Jarrod Fry had little luck from the draw and was posted wide but Holy Host was good enough to score by a half-length over Bachelor Knight.
At Tocumwal Maher had three runners but had to wait until the last to taste success with Rossatin ($6).
The Testa Rossa five-year-old now has five wins, four of them in Maher’s care.
He began his career with Warrnambool-based Matthew Williams, who bred the horse out of his dual city winner Tina’s Debut.
Special Feeling provided Debbie Wills with the second win of her training career when breaking his maiden status on Kerang Cup day last Saturday,
Wills’s previous winner came in July 2014 with just her fourth runner.
After 16 runs, the first four of them with the Lindsay Park team, punters sent out Special Feeling a well backed $2.60 favourite in the opening event at Kerang.
Local hoop Patrick Holmes rode the four-year-old positively from the outside alley and the gelding came away for a widening two-length victory.
The son of Rothesay was purchased for $10,000 in December 2015 and has earned $17,170.
Special Feeling is from Perfect Feeling, a six-time metro winner who won the Laelia Stakes and travelled to Hong Kong for Lee Freedman.
Bob’s Cat all the way
Bob Donat was another Bendigo trainer in luck at Kerang, with Catechesis leading all the way to notch her third victory.
The six-year-old was kept safe in betting at $6 after three competitive runs in metropolitan company this campaign.
Having faded over 1800 metres four weeks earlier, the mare was freshened for Saturday’s 1400-metre assignment.
Piloted by Jarrod Todd, she comfortably held off the challenge of Powersati and fellow Goldfields runner Rewarded (Graham Browney) by 1¼ lengths.
The daughter of Keep the Faith took earnings to $53,298.
Lad hits back
After 2½ years out of the winner’s circle, Tennessee Lad produced a satisfying win for Bendigo trainer Kym Hann at the Kerang meeting.
After 17 months on the sidelines due to injury, Saturday’s race was the eight-year-old’s sixth run back from a spell.
Despite the drought, Tennessee Lad was well found in early markets and jumped $4 favourite. Aided by a front-running Kassie Furness ride from an inside barrier, the son of Potter notched his eighth win at start 27.
The win puts Hann in the lead in the Bendigo trainers’ premiership with 12 wins and a 25-percent strike rate. Six of his wins have come in the first four months of 2017.
Sutton Grange’s Brent Stanley wasted little time getting back into the winner’s stall since regaining his licence early this month.
It was a fruitful Easter period for Stanley’s principal owner, Cloud 9, starting with Atomic Kitten breaking out of maiden grade last Thursday at Kilmore.
Super Rockstar followed up on Saturday at Kerang, and the son of Fastnet Rock now has three wins for 2017, having scored twice at Hanging Rock in January.
Saturday’s cluBarham Kerang Cup produced a popular result, Austy Coffey of nearby Swan Hill taking the spoils with Corporate Takeover.
The win was the 22nd for apprentice Lachlan King, son of champion jockey Steven, and completed a double on the day.
Corporate Takeover ($9.50) defeated $2.50 favourite Blue Jangles in a tight finish.
Coffey paid good mate Darren Weir $22,000 for Corporate Takeover in March 2015.
The Kerang win was the horse’s third in Coffey’s care. Son Harry was on hand at Kerang to enjoy the win, with suspension preventing him from riding at Caulfield.