When I interviewed Cessnock trainer Aleacia Bennett for this column about two years ago, she told me she was determined to one day win a TAB Highway Handicap.
She had a few attempts without success but las Saturday her determination and persistence paid off when Buddy Honest won last Saturday’s edition of the series, an 1100-metre Class 2 at Rosehill.
Ridden by Rachael Murray, the three-year-old, who was on a seven-day back-up after finishing fourth the previous week, went straight to the front from his wide barrier and never looked in danger, scoring by two lengths.
“It’s amazing. I’ve only had a few starters in town,” said Bennett.
“I wasn’t overly confident but I know he always tries his heart out. To make things even better, my parents own the horse and my husband, aunt and mother-in-law help me at the stables ... and my great friend Rachael rode him!”
Murray was just as excited after the win, which was her 111th for the season.
“She (Bennett) is my best friend. I speak with her every day and she puts up with me and encourages me. To win a TAB Highway race together is the best thing,” Murray said.
The win was Buddy Honest’s third from nine starts and Bennett said the gelding will now enjoy a spell.
Another one for Gai
The Clarence River Jockey Club completed another wonderful carnival last week.
The feature race was the $160,000 Grafton Cup (2350 metres), won by the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Supply And Demand. Josh Parr rode him and the pair defeated Get On The Grange by a short neck.
Supply And Demand’s victory gave Waterhouse her fourth Grafton Cup.
In the following race, the 1000 metre Sir James Kirby Quality, the Damien Lane-trained Johnny Roo Boy (with Jason Taylor aboard), scored by a short head from Lady Jetsetter, ridden by Robert Thompson.
Lane and Taylor had already combined to take out the South Grafton Cup the previous Sunday with Mr McBat.
Two for Chelsea
Hawkesbury apprentice Chelsea Ings had her first rides as a two-kilo claiming rider at Cowra last Saturday, and it was a profitable day.
Ings, who has been in fine form following a brief period on the sidelines through injury, scored on Flying By, trained by Peter Stanley, and Coasting, prepared by Brett Thompson.
Ings shared riding honours for the day with Allan Chau and Bradley Vale, who also both rode winning doubles.
Aside from her obvious talents as a jockey, Ings is an accomplished horse-breaker.
“I’ve been breaking in horses for about four years now,” Ings told me.”
Mum, (trainer Wanda Ings) buys horses for clients and I break them in. We’ve sold several of them through ready-to-run sales.
Breaking in horses is more of a hobby for me, but I do enjoy it.”
Dale does it again
Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dale staged yet another successful raid north of the border when Count Cumani claimed the 1200-metre maiden at the Gold Coast last Saturday.
Ridden by Cassandra Schmidt, the three-year-old colt scored by a length at 30/1.
There were some good judges singing the praises of the Jenny Graham trained two-year-old Victorem after the youngster, ridden by Ben Looker, won the 1200-metre Springboard To Fame at Grafton last week.
Victorem now has two wins from three starts and is showing plenty of promise.
Brodie takes a break
Young Canberra jockey Brodie Loy is heading to New Caledonia for a month, during which time he intends to mix business with a bit of pleasure.
“I’m treating it like a working holiday,” he said.
“I’ll still ride some trackwork so even though I will be riding less, I should keep my weight down and stay fit.”
Loy added that he is quite happy to be escaping the Canberra cold.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the weather there,” he said.