The last race at Belmont on May 17 produced a Damien Oliver moment.
Sure, there was no Melbourne Cup win at the end as there had been for Oliver in 2002, with Media Puzzle winning just days after he lost brother Jason in a track accident.
But the Del Basso Smallgoods Handicap (1200m) produced the same sort of raw emotion as jockey Willie White charged classy Trading Day through the field, from sixth at the corner, to lead by the 150 m.
With White riding like a man possessed in the concluding stages Trading Day would not be denied, staving off the late challenges from Prince of Stars (Edward Creighton) and Fiddlers Elbow (Troy Turner).
The previous Sunday the horse’s trainer, John Wilson (78), died of a heart attack in hospital.
It was left to his friend Kevin Temple to take over the training regime and fulfil Wilson’s assessment that the gelding could win this race.
An emotional owner, Wes White, said it was like a fairy tale. “I could not have scripted it any better. John meant a lot to me and Willie did a great job to win.”
Certainly the jockey seemed drained after the race as he came back to a great reception.
‘Crutches’ and Chinetti
Before the first race I saw trainer Paul Jordan in conversation with jockey Craig Staples who was riding Mysticity for ‘Crutches.’
Naturally being a charitable soul I told Craig to stand back as I wanted to kick Paul’s crutch. “This is your only chance, son” said the trainer who is hobbling along on crutches after a knee operation.
Although Jordan had no luck in the first, with Mysticity running fourth behind Rebel Son, the trainer had more joy in the fourth race.
This race saw the return of Chinetti (Mitchell Pateman) and he raced three wide throughout even though Pateman at one stage appeared to have a chance to drop him into a space closer in, at one stage.
It was the fastest time of the three 1000m races in the smart clip of 57.42 secs.
The galloper, like his trainer, has had health problems in the past. But when Jordan was asked how his own health was quipped it was improving but he was not as good as Chinetti!
He got that right – in movement it is a bit like the difference between the hare and the tortoise.
The two earlier winners over the same journey, Rebel King (Ben Kennedy) and Celebrity Miss (Chris Parnham) both recorded 57.79 secs with impressive wins.
Rebel King described as bombproof by trainer Darren McAuliffe because of his relaxed nature simply streeted the field. He led from go to whoa, winning by four lengths.
Celebrity Miss simply ran over the top of Wombie’s Legacy (Ben Paterson), in the final stages, giving Chris Parnham his first win since January 25. Parnham has been on the side-lines with a wrist injury, returning to race riding only this month.
Shaun O’Donnell rode a double (Go Tiger and Long Overdue) but had to settle for fourth on his favourite galloper, Luckygray, who ran fourth behind Magnifisio in the Roma Cup (1200m).
Trainer Jim Taylor has done a great job with wee Alan MacAlister’s mare, Magnifisio. The Laird of Redwood Park, Serpentine, has now enjoyed 10 wins (from 18 starts) from the two days talented sprinter.
Jason Brown had her quickly across from the outside barrier to be outside of the leader, Settle Strada, before going to search the lead at the top of the straight. In a great four horse duel she maintained the lead to narrowly down Elite Belle, Checkpoint and Luckygray.
Expect the triple Group 1 grey champion to be even fitter in a fortnight in the Belmont Sprint (1400m). Luckygray has bulked up since being spelled and was about 35kg heavier, on Saturday, than when last in work.
O’Donnell fired in a protest against the rider of the third horse, Brad Parnham, for interference in the concluding stages, but the stewards were not convinced.
Angel Wing (Glenn Smith) made it a hat-trick of wins in the most thrilling finish of the day the Sky Racing Provincial Championship (1400) with little separating the first four.