WITH the 2021/22 racing season concluding at the end of this month, attention is turned to the two local Horse-of-the-Year awards for Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing.
As with previous years there is one award for a horse trained within the Limestone Coast and for performances anywhere on the racing scene.
It has been somewhat of a lean season for local stables winning at metropolitan level, with only two gallopers (so far) winning more than one race in the city.
The five horses to catch the judge’s eyes are Big Sue (trained by Darryl Dodson at Bordertown), Hasta La War (Sue Murphy, Naracoorte), Royal Mile (Lee Creek, Mount Gambier), Spin The Reward (Peter Hardacre, Mount Gambier) and Thrill Kill (Peter Hardacre, Mount Gambier).
The other award is for performances within the Limestone Coast for horses trained anywhere.
Those to come under scrutiny are Clever Man (Trevor White, Mount Gambier), Runbro (Belinda O’Louhglin, Mount Gambier), Sebonna (Peter Hardacre, Mount Gambier) and Wild Willy (Lee Creek, Mount Gambier).
The winners will be announced at the annual presentation luncheon for LCTR to be held in the member’s lounge at the Naracoorte racecourse on Sunday, August 14, 2022.
Guest speaker for the occasion will be the Penola-born jockey Caitlin Jones who competed in – and won – the International Jockeys Challenge back in late February at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Jones took on some of the best jockeys in the world that night and walked away with the title after riding a winner and a second from the four designated races.
The presentation luncheon, where the premierships for leading jockey, trainer, apprentice rider and restricted trainer for the LCTR will also be awarded, is open to the public and bookings can be made with Sally Matheson (0407 522 459).
It will be the first occasion the function has been held since 2019 due to Covid restrictions.
The cost for the afternoon, which includes a three-course meal and all drinks (beer, wine, tea and coffee), is good value at $80.
WRONG HORSE PRESENTED
IN-FORM local trainer Wayne Walters left Casterton last Sunday with another winner but personally poorer for the outing.
Craiglee Wizard, one of his runners at the meeting, was taken into the mounting yard prior to race five instead of stablemate The Armani
Craiglee Wizard is a four-year-old chestnut gelding, while The Armani is in the twilight of his career as an 11-year-old gelding.
Fortunately, an alert official picked out the error and Craiglee Wizard was returned to his stall and The Armani took his place in the field.
Nevertheless, stewards took a dim view of what had occurred and Walters was fined $1,200 for presenting the wrong horse in the mounting yard.
Stewards took into account Walters’ guilty plea, his forthright evidence and his overall record.
The extra bit of exercise evidently did Craiglee Wizard no harm whatsoever as he came out and duly won race six, the 1200-metre 0-58 handicap.
A rails-hugging ride by Kate Walters enabled Craigless Wizard, a $21 chance, to save valuable ground on the home turn and he went on to win his third race this year.
The Walters stable should have had a double for the day, as Fast Foils was unlucky not to win the 2000-metre 0-58 highweight handicap.
Fast Foils was disappointed for a run in the final stages and flashed home when he saw daylight to be narrowly beaten in a photo.
His jockey Lee Horner then fired in a protest alleging interference near the 100-metre mark but the objection was quickly dismissed by stewards.
IN THE LIMELIGHT
JUMPS jockey Aaron Kuru had his highs and lows at the Casterton meeting.
Kuru attracted the attention of stewards in the opening event, the 3480-metre hurdle, when he rode the unplaced Zedstar.
He was outed for three meetings on a careless riding charge after stewards deemed it in the lower category of recklessness.
Kuru made amends in no uncertain manner when he piloted the hot favourite Elvison to an all-the-way win in the 3800-metre steeplechase.
Elvison had won the steeplechase on Casterton cup day in mid May and went around last Sunday as a $1.60 chance.
The owners of Elvison, who hail from the other side of Melbourne, obviously fell in love with Casterton when they came over in May.
So much so, they made it a long weekend of it this time around by staying two nights in Casterton and were last seen having their own little party up on the hill until well after the last race on Sunday.
Those people who believe horses do not like jumping should watch a replay of the maiden hurdle at Casterton.
Mont Angel parted company with his jockey with over a lap to go and continued on galloping with the field.
Mont Angel jumped the next couple of hurdles before dodging a couple of flights along the back straight, then joined the pack on the home turn and jumped the final two hurdles as if he was loving the caper.
Jumps jockey Richard O’Donoghue, who can still claim three kilograms, took riding honours for the day with a double from his only two rides with success in both of the hurdle races.
LOOKING FOR MORE SUPPORT
MOUNT Gambier trainers and track riders held a meeting in a city hotel last Wednesday night to discuss some issues they currently have out at Glenburnie.
Sixteen industry participants turned up, meaning the vast majority of local trainers were in attendance on a cold winter’s night.
Their complaints mainly centred on the training aspect on non-race days at Glenburnie, including health and safety issues.
It seems their major concern is their grievances are falling on deaf ears with the executive of the Mount Gambier Racing Club.
If nothing is resolved at local level, it is believed their issues will then be taken up with Racing SA officials.
FREE ENTRY TO THE RACES
THERE are two race meetings this month in the Limestone Coast to conclude the current season.
The first is next Wednesday, July 6 here at Mount Gambier with a seven-race card.
Being the middle of winter, only a small crowd is expected and club officials have opted to give free entry to patrons.
Furthermore, all facilities for the public (tote, bookmaker, toilets, seating, dining etc.) will be located in the warmth upstairs in the member’s lounge.