Jockey Joseph Azzopardi thought he could win with The Forgotten One in the Bernard Couch Memorial Handicap (2100m) at Belmont Park yesterday, and made sure of it with a perfect positioning.
Jumping well, Azzopardi never left the rails from barrier one being given cover behind the leaders throughout, before downing Shinta Mani (Jason Whiting) in a slugging finish by a neck.
“He settled well and got cover against the headwind for much of the race and ran beautifully but Shinta Mani made me earn it to the line,” Azzopardi said.
Indeed with Shinta Mani running without wind cover in second place behind pacemaker Thunderclap Newman (fourth), it may have told the story at the finish.
The day got better for Azzopardi as he won the feature race, the Belmont Newmarket, aboard Meteoroid in a tough battle against Profit Street and Battle Hero.
With Adam Durrant absent on a fishing trip, it was left to the trainer’s father Geoff to prepare the galloper for the race.
Ihtsahymn, a distant third, appeared only a shadow of his three year old days or even the horse that was successful in the 2016 Strickland Stakes on this softer track despite a good second last start.
Positioned well in fourth place by apprentice Fred W. Kersley and with a 3kg claim, the grey simply plodded to the line almost five lengths away in the minor place.
However champion trainer Fred Kersley cautioned about judging him on just one poor run.
Apprentice Tayla Stone landed her first city winner for trainer Lindsey Smith when pacemaker and $12 chance, Mr Motown racing fresh, continued to lift and fight off More Aces (Fred W. Kersley) in the Bob Cramp 80th Birthday Handicap (1000m).
“I thought initially More Aces would go around me so I could get cover but I was happy to lead,” Stone said.
Smith said Stone worked “hard at home and deserved her chance” on the galloper who has now won nine times from 36 starts with eight places.
Smith said that when Mr Motown was keen to race he would always be in the first three in running.
”I will probably take him to Kalgoorlie for the Hannans Handicap, although the 1400m may stretch him.”
All of Mr Motown’s victories have been over the 1000-1200m journey.
The talented Chris Parnham made it three from three Saturday metropolitan wins when he won the first race of the day at Belmont (1400m) yesterday.
Following his winning double from his only two rides last Saturday after recovering from earlier foot surgery, Parnham was convincing on maiden performer Quest to Venus.
Racing mid field throughout, the jockey had no trouble finding a corridor mid-track in the home straight and had the race in his keeping on the Brad Graham trained mare at the 100m mark, moving away to win by a length and a quarter from Costa Oeste (Casey Hunter).