“I thought I had been beaten,” was senior jockey Peter Knuckey’s comment after winning by the Westspeed 3YO Handicap by the ‘proverbial lip’ on Liberty’s Gem. Megafactory (Chris Parnham) was a luckless second with Oradol (Troy Turner) half a length away in third place.
Most would have agreed with Knuckey that the outside horse (Megafactory) had won. Trainer Simon Miller said he had plenty of concerns with the strong wind and rain sweeping the Belmont course.
While Liberty’s Gem trial form has been impeccable he was having his first race start and the weather was not conducive to novice gallopers. Certainly Megafactory with four thirds from six starts had the edge in experience and Parnham had him in second place all the way behind Liberty’s Gem. The pair staged a two horse duel all the way down the home straight.
Liberty’s Gem was an $80,000 purchase as a yearling and continues part-owner Dan White’s winning association with Miller. Whether this galloper can be as good as Power Princes or Hussy By Choice remains to be seen but he certainly showed fight at debut.
The win was some compensation for Miller as he had seen his galloper, High Limit, go down by a neck in the previous race to Nonesosassy (Jake Casey).
That race had been marred by Marmaa dislodging Steven Parnham at the start and then hampering some horses in the run home, including High Limit (Parnham sustained a cracked rib).
Left alone in front Casey did the right thing to pilot Nonesosassy to victory for his trainer –father, Sean.
Trainer Justin Warwick should learn not to concentrate watching losers like the Sydney Swans and more on his winning daughter, Lucy. The top apprentice made short work of the fourth race over 1400m when Oakhurst Flyer led from go to whoa to win easily.
It was a case of getting the ‘monkey off the back’ of this lightly raced six year old. In her last five starts she has finished second four times including three in a row.
Former Dowerin farmer Phil King purchased the mare for only $5000 as a gift for his wife Sandy who was not particularly amused at the time. Oakhurst Flyer has had leg problems that has kept her out of racing until this year.
The win was her second in nine starts.