Trainer Kevin Green was delighted at the front running exhibition of Saxon Saxoff in the Budget Handicap (2200m) and the gelding never looked threatened.
At one stage apprentice Jerry Noske had the gelding 10 lengths clear in a bold catch-me-if- you-can ride. They couldn’t, and there was clear daylight between the winner and runner up, Banana Boy at the finish.
“He is a one paced type and he needs to get a break on them to win and Jerry did what she was asked to do. This is another win for a trotting trainer,” Green quipped at his success in his new code.
Green said his $50 bet on his horse was not the reason for the betting support on Saxon Saxoff. On Saturday morning it was quoted at $31 before paying $6.80.
It was very much an apprentices day at Belmont with Lucy Warwick (a treble), Joseph Azzopardi and Jake Casey also all giving impressive displays.
Warwick’s early winners were both pacemakers, Blackwood, for Fred Kersley, and then for her father Justin, currently walking the Kokoda Track, on Brother Patrick.
“On the last two occasions Brother Patrick has won he has been left alone like that and you don’t always get it that easy,” she said after her horse had staved off Zuccheros, ridden by Azzopardi, her main rival for leading apprentice honours. Paseo Del Prado was third.
The Warwick treble came in the last race with Dark Alert just getting in from Eurosun (Azzopardi), giving trainer Grant Williams, in Adelaide with SA Derby winner Delicacy, a great finish to the day.
“It was great to keep it going for them,” Warwick said. “Although I was out wide I managed to get cover and got towed up,” she said of her last stride win.
Jake Casey was another young rider who led the field throughout, on New Time, before winning by the proverbial flared nostril from Liberty’s Gem (Peter Knuckey), over 1300m.
Trainer Jim Taylor said “Jake is a fine developing rider and got it right by going forward to deny Liberty’s Gem the lead.”
As for Casey, he said his charge missed the start slightly but he decided to kick up and lead. “It was a good win carrying 60kg but I was not confident when the second horse challenged me,” he said.
Joe Azzopardi’s win was somewhat different, coming from last on the turn, with form horse Tower of Lonhro, trained by Adam Durrant, to win going away despite his top weight of 60kg.
He was too strong for trainer Shane Quilty’s pair, Fancy Feet and Dabang, the latter dead heating for third with Ask Me Nicely.
Stable foreman Jason Miller said, “It was a sweeping win and he had a few doubters with the weight and distance (2000m). However he is big and strong and his previous win, the Diggers Cup (1800m), indicated to us that he would step up to this.”
Miller said the Tower of Lonhro may go to Darwin for the $175,000 Cup race, on dirt, in August.
Peter Knuckey who had gone down narrowly to Jake Casey narrowly won the sixth race with Simon Miller’s, First AmongEquals against apprentice Jordan Turner aboard Malibu Style. The margin was a short head with Knuckey’s mount finishing the better.
Then Jason Whiting railed brilliantly on Dueton in the seventh race to give that horse a long overdue victory. Although he has eight wins and 13 places from 37 starts Dueton had not won since 13 January 2014 so this was a monkey-off- the- back for trainer Eric Wake.
by John Elsegood