Senior jockey Shaun O’Donnell used all his wiles to land Leonarasensation an impressive winner of the Westspeed 3YO Handicap (1300m), scoring by three quarters of a length.
With the horses jumping into ‘a 12 goal breeze’ at the start, O’Donnell urged Leonorasensation forward, from barrier two, to be on the rails quickly. O’Donnell was content to let main rival Big Caroline cross to the lead and then find cover behind that filly, racing in third and fourth position.
Turning for home O’Donnell angled beautifully off the rails to challenge Big Caroline and Leonorasensation was too strong in the concluding stages with the jockey dropping his hands in the last 70 metres. Generous Choice was well beaten into third place.
Trainer Justine Erkelens said her charge had improved by “leaps and bounds” from his first-up win at Pinjarra, the chestnut’s only other start.
“He has grown into a big horse and he may go well over more ground later in his career,” Erkelens said. Nicknamed Garfield, Leonorasensation lived up to the name of the famous cartoon cat by being in a playful mood race in the saddling enclosure before the second race.
The third race was marred by a bad fall at the 200m mark when promising galloper Trade Down (Pat Carbery) crashed to the turf when making a run. The galloper was subsequently put down after sustaining a shattered leg. Carbery was uninjured, although shaken. That incident allowed Drive West (Ben Paterson) to drive along the fence and score convincingly from Paseo Del Prado and Bradford Badboy.
The fourth race was delayed by 14 minutes while officials worked to eliminate a blood pool near the winning post where Trade Down eventually pulled up.