Patience paid off for Hawkesbury trainer Bernie Kelly when Bobbing ($7.50) sustained a strong run from near the tail on the turn to take out last Saturday’s $500,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) by a long neck from Spring Charlie.
Koby Jennings was the winning jockey.
Twice Kelly had to scratch the gelding from qualifying heats due to slight setbacks before Bobbing won the Wyong Qualifier on March 30.
“It was a bit frustrating,” Kelly said. “The first time he had a bit of a throat infection and the second time he probably wasn’t quite ready.
“I’m just glad we got him over the line today. It gets the monkey off my back a little bit. It’s been a long time coming for me.”
For Jennings, the win was the biggest of his career.
“Going back to the provincials and trying to make a name for myself has paid off and I’ve been rewarded in this way,” the jockey said.
“I knew he was going to be good enough to win this. I actually started to get a bit nervous and I don’t usually get nervous.
“I know Bernie was nervous. I had a good chat with him in the jockeys’ room. We knew we had the right horse to pull it off but I didn’t think he’d be able to pull it off like that.”
After the win it was revealed that Kelly had been staying in a Hawkesbury motel for the previous fortnight in order to ensure that Bobbing qualified for the final, having sold his Hawkesbury stables in preparation for a move to Scone.
“Bernie has stayed to train the horse because to be eligible it had to be at Hawkesbury,” said Hawkesbury Race Club spokesman Greg Rudolph.
Juliette jags another cup
It was a case of déjà vu last Friday when the Gary White-trained mare Letter to Juliette ($3.50) took out the $65,000 Orange Gold Cup (2100m), scoring by a short neck from Joe’s Joy. It was the second successive win in the race for the five-year-old, and Mathew Cahill has been aboard both times.
Earlier in the day, the Gary Portelli-trained $2.90 favourite Estrado, ridden by Simone Vella, won the Silver Apple Handicap (1000m) for two-year-olds, while the Alison Smith-trained Absolute Ripper ($6) won the 1000-metre open sprint with Anthony Cavallo aboard.
The picnic circuit headed to the central west of the state last Saturday with the Grenfell Picnic Cup falling to Southern Gamble ($3), trained in Canberra by Doug Gorrel and ridden by Natalie Baxter.
The win completed a hat-trick for Southern Gamble, who was coming off wins in the Crookwell Cup and in a 1400-metre handicap at Cootamundra.
Trainer Trevor Sutherland and jockey Jody Hughes took training and riding honours respectively, combining to win three races on the six race program.
In the state’s south, the Gary Colvin-trained Danetrille ($3.40 favourite) took out the 1400-metre Holbrook Cup with Nick Heywood in the saddle.
Davies at the double
Gosford trainer Angela Davies, renowned for her high strike rate, is enjoying a stellar season.
A double at Port Macquarie last Friday took Davies’s 2018/19 stats to 47 starters for 19 wins (40.4%) and 11 placings (63.8%).
Davies currently has a couple of stalls available and may be contacted on 0407 786 442.
Jeep flies on dry
The autumn cups action continued on Sunday with the Jenny Graham-trained I Wanna Be a Jeep ($8.50) appreciating the firm track conditions at Armidale when taking out the 1400-metre Guyra Cup with Ben Looker in the saddle.
On the same day at Wagga Wagga, the 1800-metre Murrumbidgee Cup went to Canberra galloper Animalia ($4), trained by Matthew Dale and ridden by apprentice Billy Owen.
“He had a good run in transit and proved just too strong for his rivals,” said Dale. “He’ll develop into a really nice stayer and he’ll get his chance in the Wagga Wagga Gold Cup (May 3).”
Earlier, the Wagga Town Plate Prelude (1200m) was won by the Chris Heywood-trained Fermanagh Lad ($7), ridden by apprentice Josh Richards.
The Easter weekend promises to be a great one for racing, with 11 meetings scheduled around the state.
Out west, the Lightning Ridge Race Club’s meeting on Saturday is sure to prove popular.
“The meeting this year will be massive,” club spokesman Angus Remond said this week.
“Total prizemoney is $62,000 for the meeting plus opal pendant trophies, with the feature races the Dale Bruce Memorial and the Opal Bracelet.”
The following day, the Back O’ Bourke Picnic Race Club will hold its annual race meeting at Bourke.
“This year will be a little different due to the drought conditions around the district but we hope our day can provide a little social interaction and a break for those suffering and feeling the impact of this tough, long drought,” said Sarah Barton, the club’s manager.
Also on Sunday, the Shoalhaven City Turf Club will conduct a meeting at Nowra, while on Monday the Muswellbrook Race Club will hold its popular Lone Pine Charge meeting.
Other non-metropolitan meetings will be held at Kembla Grange, Port Macquarie, Moruya and Tocumwal on Saturday and at Mudgee on Sunday.
Looking for horses to follow, I thought Ethanol Girl ($4) from the astute Stephen Lee stable impressed in winning the 1300-metre maiden at Lismore on Saturday by 3¾ lengths, while the Kris Lees-trained Apollo Prince, ridden by Daryl McLellan, also looked the goods in winning the 1200-metre maiden at Newcastle at the skinny odds of $1.45.
Got Your Six, from the powerful Waterhouse/Bott stable, also looks to have a future after recording an easy win in the second 1200-metre maiden at Newcastle after starting at $1.60.