Higher ... faster!
By STEVE SPINKS
GRAFTON-trained High Octave set a track record on its way to winning the $20,000 Lismore Workers Club Rousillon Open Handicap (1516m) at the Lismore racecourse yesterday. The brown gelding hit the lead with 250 metres to go and held off a fast-finishing Sundae Jester and Classic Frontier to claim the prize. High Octave ran 1 minute 29.35 seconds to better the previous mark of 1 minute 29.75 seconds. He was ridden by Andrew Parramore. The Danny Bowen-trained Netazi put on the speed early and led into the straight, which suited High Octave perfectly. For trainer John Shelton, it was not a surprise considering the five-year-old's recent form. "He's been racing really well," he said. "This is his third win since I've had him." In fact, it is High Octave's third win in five starts since he came to Shelton by way of the Gold Coast. His last start was a well-run fourth in the Ballina Cup behind Arena Valadora. He used to be trained by Gary Rafter, who has now quit the training game to become the foreman of a big stable on the Gold Coast. "I was pretty pleased when they (the owners) gave him to me," Shelton admitted. Shelton hasn't entered High Octave in the Lismore Cup. Instead, he will head to Brisbane in three weeks where the Grafton trainer has a 1600m race in mind. Top weight and 2004 Casino Cup and Beef Week Cup winner Sundae Jester ran on for second after being last in the back straight. It was a welcome return to form for the Beaudesert based six-year-old after a disappointing 10th in the Ballina Cup earlier this month. Trainer Ricky Ludwig has entered him in the Lismore Cup. Third was Classic Frontier, trained at Ballina by Danny Bowen. High Octave's win completed a double for Shelton. The Umat won the sixth race, the Lismore Workers Heights Bowling Club Class 1 Handicap (1200m). The Umat was ridden by Japanese apprentice Mas-ashi Yoshinaga. It was his second winner for the day after he had success with Captain's Way in the third race, the Class 5 Handicap (1100m). Chris Whiteley also rode two winners. The Rousillon Handicap is named after a champion galloper which won two Lismore Cups, a Ballina Cup and a Casino Cup in the late 1960s and 1970s. Former jockey of Rousillon, Joe Freeman, of Casino, was the guest of honour. Freeman now works for the Ballina Jockey Club after his riding days were ended by a fall in 1966.