Although the season is only a fortnight old, it seems clear SA racing fans will witness a tight tussle for the Adelaide jockeys premiership.
Todd Pannell, Barend Vorster and apprentice Lewis German rode doubles at the official opening of the new Gifford Hill track at Murray Bridge last Saturday, joining Kayla Crowther and Liam Riordan on two winners for the season, one behind leader Georgina Cartwright.
Reigning premier Raquel Clark is also on the board, having kicked off the Murray Bridge meeting with a victory on first-starter Silent Sovereign ($17) in the three-year-old benchmark 70 handicap.
The Dalakhani filly came from the rear of the field with a strong outside run over the concluding stages.
Silent Sovereign’s five-year-old half-brother Silent Command ($10) later launched Pannell’s double when he won a benchmark 70 over 1600 metres for Nick Smart, who recently relocated to Bendigo from Ballarat.
On the speed throughout at Murray Bridge, Silent Command may now target the listed $100,000 Balaklava Cup over the same trip on September 11.
Silent Sovereign and Silent Command are out of Silent Surround, who won the 2009 SA Sires’ Produce Stakes in the care of Smart’s Oakbank-based father, Bill.
Pannell landed the second leg of his double when he brought Seven Year Reward ($3 favourite) from midfield to win the 1000-metre benchmark 75 for Morphettville trainer Will Clarken.
Vorster’s winners were both for his principal patron, Tony McEvoy, who finished with three winners at the Bridge to go with Vinland’s success at Flemington the same day.
Vorster kicked off with Magic Sunset ($2.30 favourite) first up from a spell in the 1000-metre benchmark 64, later guiding last-start Vahash ($3.10 favourite) to an all-the-way win in the 1400-metre benchmark 64.
German landed the first of his wins on Arty Lucas ($2.60 favourite) in the 2000-metre benchmark 70 for Horsham trainer Paul Preusker. He completed his double on Amberdi ($4.80) in the benchmark 82 handicap of 1400 metres for Naracoorte’s Sue Jaensch.
A couple for Kylie
Apprentice Jerry Chau and local trainer Kylie McKerlie combined for a double at last Sunday’s Port Augusta meeting, winning with When Stars Align ($1.75 favourite) and Pandeia ($2.70).
Sairyn Fawke shared the riding honours, winning on the Andrew Beswick-trained Habanero ($3.70) and the Scott Whittle-trained Harbour Express ($6).
Heat on at Gawler
The Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club has announced it will stage a heat of this year’s Jericho Cup at its twilight cup meeting on October 25. The heat will be run over 3340 metres.
The $300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) will be run at Warrnambool on December 1.
Great effort, Grant
Murray Bridge trainer Grant Young notched a rare feat at Balaklava on Wednesday when his runners filled the first four placings in the benchmark 60 over 2210 metres.
In a remarkably even 12-horse field, Chilean Wonder ($6 equal favourite) narrowly beat stablemate Spying On You ($10), with a gap to Rock On Ivy ($13) and Blinky O’Reilly ($9).
Jake Toeroek and Jason Holder shared the riding honours at Balaklava with a double apiece.