Donald’s race meeting on Sunday, September 17, was blessed with beautiful warm sunshine, suggesting that the Spring Racing Carnival has arrived.
The track was rated a good four, with an upgrade to a good three prior to race three, with a moderate crowd attending the event.
Donald’s winter sports vote count was happening on the same day, resulting in a noticeable absence of sports teams celebrating their end of season as they have done in the past.
Nevertheless, visitors to the event enjoyed the sunshine and the excitement of country racing, those in attendance looking smart in attire worthy of a cup day.
The next race meeting scheduled for Donald will be its Cup Day, and patrons are reminded that now is the time to book umbrellas and mini marquees for the event. Also to be noted is that bookings are essential for the catered meals inside the clubhouse. All bookings are to be made through the Donald and District Race Club’s website and enquiries can be directed to club manager, Penny Penfold ,on 0418124289.
The Donald Cup will continue to host the usual trackside events such as fashions in the field along with the Jeff Woodward duo providing musical entertainment and activities on the lawn for the kids such as face-painting and jumping castle. Show your support to your local race club by getting involved with its biggest race meeting of the year, on November 19.
John Allen had a successful day with three wins. The first win was a late ride on an emergency runner, the well-backed Pink Beauty for trainer Brian McGrath in a convincing win by over three lengths. The Donald Steel Metaland Maiden was led by the grey, Snow on Her, to be overtaken on the straight and forced into fourth position. In second place, Chargenlikapluma, ridden by Liam Riordan for Simon Zahra, and a short neck behind in third came Govenor Phillip, ridden by Jack Hill for Lisa Jones.
John’s second win was in the Donald Motor Lodge Handicap for the Maher/Eustace stable riding the heavilybacked favourite Awol. In a small field, John had pushed his mount out to lead by the 100-metre mark to control the tempo of the race over the 1350-metre distance. Awol crossed the finish line a head in front of Kyokushin, ridden by Jack Hill for Henry Dwyer. Nearly three lengths behind the two leaders came Penegra and Keefneedsafeed in a dead heat for third place.
John Allen’s personal trifecta came in the Buloke Plumbing-sponsored sixth race, riding Shearman Dyer in a double for the Maher/Eustace stable. Leading for the 2200-metre distance, Allen had a convincing win by over three lengths defeating Koolatah, ridden by Christine Puls for Paul Preusker in second place. Some distance back in third placing came Lama, ridden by Harry Grace for Peter Lafferty, and the favourite, Laurie Blue gained fourth.
Also to achieve a double on the day was jockey Jarrod Fry. His first was in a close finish in the third race, sponsored by Russ Jewellers, riding the favourite, Splashback, for Andrew Bobbin. In one of the closest finishes of the day, he defeated Christine Puls riding Princess Hotspur at $151 odds for trainer Sharon Croxford, which had led the pack over the 1350 metre distance. In third placing, Awash, ridden by John Allen and taking fourth, Navajo Warrior. Margins were half a head, with a photo finish for second and third places.
Jarrod Fry’s second win came in the Goldacres-sponsored fifth, for the Hayes’s stable, riding Turbo Toronado. Zeehak, ridden by Harry Grace for Malcolm Sharp took an early lead and led the runners to the straight where it was tested by the favourite and forced into second place by three quarters of a length. Half a length behind in third was Founex, ridden by Christine Puls for James and Lisa Dodgson and in fourth place, Belvago.
The first maiden race of the day sponsored by Megelec Electrical Contractors over 1620 metres was won by Berry Foxie, ridden by Jack Hill for trainer Henry Dwyer. A length behind in second, Bellawish, ridden by Caitlin Hollowood, for trainer Matt Laurie. A half length behind in third came Bella Tesoro, ridden by Harry Grace for Paul Cumming, and in fourth, Suprendre.
The final race of the day, over 1620 metres was an all-the-way win by Sandblast, ridden by Linda Meech for Kelvin Bourke. Half a length behind in second came Limbering, ridden by Laura Rafferty for Rhys Archard. Two lengths behind the first two came Starboard Light, ridden by John Allen for Mitchell Freedman and in fourth, Antequera.
From the Rookie
I trust that punters exercised their better judgement when looking at my selection in Friday’s “Buloke Times“, particularly in the maiden races. However, my tips did improve for the handicap races, and it is hoped this might be an indication of my improvement and not just a show of dumb luck.
Thanks to Matthew Rigby for providing clearer photographic coverage of the event than I could hope to provide in Peter Hibberd’s absence, and for taking to the task at such short notice, with such enthusiasm.
This community is blessed to have members willing to share their talents and hobbies within our columns; your contributions are greatly appreciated.
The work of other volunteers at race meetings does not go unnoticed either, from the Lions in the tent cooking barbecue lunches for those in attendance, to the ladies in the clubhouse providing three-course meals; thank you, you make catering these events look effortless.
See all the photos in the issue.
This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 19 September 2023.