Aquajewel sails away for win in the wet
APTLY-NAMED Aquajewel sailed through a Heavy 9 track at Ballina to demonstrate why her trainer thought she was good thing in the tab.com.au Benchmark 60 Handicap (1000m).
The Steven Phelps-trained four-year-old conquered all in brilliant fashion to grab her third win in 22 starts with her only previous wins on Heavy tracks.
"She loves the wet,” Steven Phelps said.
"When it rained last night I knew they wouldn't beat her.”
Ben Looker made it a double for the day with another perfect ride and said she was never in doubt.
"She really let down,” he said.
"I couldn't believe they (Ballina Jockey Club) raced when I got up this morning.
"I thought they'd be off for sure after all that rain but the track has raced really well.
"He's (Phelps) been good to me for a long while.”
Earlier, Hope Island ended a frustrating run of near misses to win the Class 3 Handicap (1400m) and complete a winning day for his Lismore trainer.
Trained by Daniel Bowen Hope Island has now won four of his 43 starts and gave his young trainer a winning double.
"Been a good day, two winners and a second,” Daniel Bowen said.
"Can't do much better than that.”
Bowen had celebrated a quinella earlier in the meeting when Dux Nutz beat debutante filly Pink carnation.
They were his only runners.
Hope island is a five-year-old grey gelding and always "loomed” but never really gone on with it.
That was until Scott Galloway had him just behind the leaders entering the straight.
He hardly had to hit him with the whip, just a couple to ensure he took a run through and then he surged to a decisive victory.
"He's always loomed,” Galloway said.
"Today when he sprinted it was all over. I didn't have to hit him.”
It was also a good day for Ballina trainer Bill Pholi after Miss River Belle skated to victory in the Ballina Maiden (1000m).
The four-year-old daughter of Rothesay had been trained by David Van Dyke for a syndicate including breeder Kevin Kelly.
A former trainer Kelly was present to celebrate the mare's first win in four starts.
"David felt she needed to go back to the country and get some confidence,” Kelly said.
So he rang Bill Pholi and he was only too happy to take her.
Tegan Harrison had ridden her in her first start when she bolted with her when going around to the barriers.
There were no such problems for Harrison today.
"She'll get confidence from that,” Harrison said. "We'll have a bit of fun with her.”