The Kurt Goldman-trained galloper Black Wand atoned for a last-start second in a TAB Highway Handicap when he took out Saturday’s edition of the series at Rosehill.
The gelding, who started favourite at $5, appeared to appreciate the step up in distance from 1500 to 1800 metres and never really looked like losing.
Ridden by Sam Clipperton, Black Wand settled off the pace before making a forward move at the 350-metre mark and forging to the front with 200 metres to go, to record a length victory from Perfect Rhyme, who had attempted to lead all the way.
“He had them covered a long way out. The only concern I had was whether he was going to go on with it — I didn’t know if he was an honest horse,” the Goulburn-based Goldman said.
“He got there and thought the job was done but it was nice to see him pull away in the end.
“He had all the momentum but still had a bit of a think about it. He needs to go on with it now. He might be better suited in Queensland, where they have Class 6 races.”
Clipperton admitted after the win to having had doubts about his mount’s ability to run out the 1800 metres.
“Personally I didn’t think he’d get the distance, but he’s going well. He had a soft run and ran out the 1800 metres strongly,” he said.
“It was a good win after running a great race last start and Kurt has him in great order.
“He probably got there too soon because he was going that well. It was good to see him show a nice turn of foot.”
Having run a strong 1800 metres, Black Wand may now be tested over further.
“We might target some of those country cups around the 2000 metres at places like Orange and maybe even a Canberra Cup,” Goldman said.
Waller lauds Blaike
Albury apprentice Blaike McDougall, who finished last season as the state’s most successful apprentice with 107 wins, was back in the limelight on Saturday after landing a winner for the all-conquering Chris Waller stable at Rosehill.
McDougall showed commendable initiative to get the outsider Hogmanay ($21) home in the 2000-metre benchmark 78.
After settling midfield but finding himself trapped wide without cover, McDougall elected to make a move at the 1300-metre mark, driving his mount forward to race outside the leader, Scholarly.
After hitting the front at the 200 metres, Hogmanay had enough left to hold off the strong finish of stablemate Matowi, winning by nearly a length, with Scholarly holding on for third.
“It was a very nice ride from Blaike,” Waller said. “He rolled forward when he was posted deep early, so well done to him for making that decision. It proved to be a winning move.”
For his part, McDougall preferred to credit the horse.
“It was a good, tough win because he was running into the breeze for much of it, so full credit to him,” he said.
The feature race on the program at Casino last Saturday, the 1400-metre Casino Gold Cup, saw the Kris Lees-trained Powerline ($6) unleash a strong run down the outside under Ben Looker to nail Nothingforthepress right on the line to score by a short head, with $61 chance Prima Stella a similar margin away in third place.
Saturday’s non-TAB meeting was undoubtedly one of the most popular on the NSW country calendar, Louth Cup day.
The 2000-metre feature went to the Rodney Robb-trained Austin, ridden by Wendy Peel.
Robb trained four winners on the seven race program, while apprentice Clayton Gallagher also managed four winners, three of them for Robb.
Going the distance
Congratulations to two clubs, the Newcastle Jockey Club and the Murrumbidgee Turf Club, on staging long-distance races at their respective meetings last weekend.
On Saturday, the Newcastle club staged the 2950-metre Roses Stayers Cup, while on Sunday the feature at Wagga Wagga was the Riverina Cup over a marathon 3800 metres.
At Newcastle only a head separated the first two placegetters, with the decision going to the Todd Howlett-trained Yuralla Boy ($8), ridden by Andrew Gibbons, over the favourite, Kellstorm.
On Sunday no camera was needed as the Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig-trained Da Deputy justified $4 favouritism by romping away to a four-length win, with Blaike McDougall doing the steering.
The Goulburn Race Club is looking to improve facilities at the track for female jockeys.
The proposal, if it goes ahead, will cost around $150,000 and take at least three months to complete.
The proposal comes in response to an ever-increasing number of women in the riding ranks, with more than a third of the riders at Monday’s Goulburn meeting being female.
The club also plans to improve its media facilities.
Two big days at Taree
The Manning Valley Race Club’s annual two-day carnival kicks off today (Friday) with the running of the 1400-metre Hopkins Livermore Cup.
Sunday’s feature race will be the $100,000 Stacks Law Firm Taree Gold Cup (2000m).
On Sunday at Moruya, the main race on the seven-race program is the $25,000 South Coast Clubs Cup (1425m).
In last week’s column I incorrectly spelt the name of the late Ivan Shearer. My apologies.