“I thought the grey had won,” was how William Pike described the thrilling three horse finish to the Belmont Guineas (1600m) at Belmont yesterday.
Riding second favourite, Tick Tick Bloom, Pike was deemed a hopeless proposition on the turn, being second last, on a slow, rain affected track.
In the last stride Tick Tick Bloom, in drab black and maroon colours that matched the day, just prevailed on the outside from Midnight Summer (Glenn Smith), in the centre. Happy With Kendel (Willie White), was the grey on the rails, and he was leading a stride before the post but had to settle for third, after the photo.
The win completed a hat-trick for the filly and her rider.
Stable foreman Jason Miller, deputising for trainer Adam Durrant (in the Netherlands), said he was not confident of a win given the wet conditions and a wide barrier draw.
“It was a tougher field today and she really dug deep. We will try her over 2000m in a couple of weeks,” Miller said.
The win was some compensation for the stable after the defeat of Ora Dare in the first race of the day. In a field of four the favourite ran a mediocre third, behind Operational and Fancy Feet, after racing in last position for most of the journey. That race was run at a dawdling pace and some punters were critical of top apprentice Ben Paterson for not surging forward to create a genuine speed.
The slow pace elicited a quip from race caller Darren McAullay as the quartet ambled towards the back straight. According to Big Mac (the caller, not the burger) the race needed Tommy Tycho and his quartet to liven up proceedings!
Unfortunately, the master musician is no longer available –he passed away on 4 April 2013, a week shy of his 85th birthday.
PARNHAMS WIN DOUBLE: Trainer Neville Parnham and his middle son, Brad, made light of the winter conditions with a convincing double victory for the day.
After winning the second race, with Top Show, the pair struck again when Dominating proved a giant killer, defeating the glamour galloper, Trading Day, in the sixth race (1400m).
Both the Parnhams thought their galloper was beaten with 250m to go before the jockey switched his whip to his left hand.
“That’s typical Brad he will try something and he really adapts to racing situations well. I was a confident of a big race after Dominating worked well on Tuesday and he goes better on the softer surfaces. It will be a great tonic for part-owner Syd Stewart who is currently in Hollywood Hospital.”
The trainer said Dominating could now go for a spell. His eldest son, Steven, may resume riding next Saturday after a race fall at Pinjarra on June 5.
McScar and Bam-Bam triumph: Another combination that refused to lay down and accept defeat was McScar and Renee Forrest, known as Bam-Bam.
The David Harrison trained grey (a $65 outsider) won his eighth race when he refused to surrender to Mendicity (Chris Parnham), after being headed, in the Westspeed Nominations Handicap (1200m).
The win was a boost for Forrest, who loves the horse, as she has not found it easy since coming back from a five month layoff, after sustaining a badly broken leg, a year ago.
“I have won four times on McScar and he is a real gentleman for me, although he can pull at times,” the diminutive apprentice said.
Harrison said, “He shocked me today as he has been taking the easy way out in recent races by not really trying at the finish. Despite knuckling over a bit at the start he raced up near the lead and he loves the wet conditions.”