Breakthrough wins on Cup day
KEIRABELLA surged to a breakthrough win on Lismore Cup day yesterday when the Murwillumbah-trained filly led throughout.
The three-year-old daughter of More Than Ready, trained on the Tweed by Matt Dunn, was more than ready to go in the Maiden Plate (1200m), jumping in front and winning by two lengths.
"She's a nice filly,” Matt Dunn said. "Always liked her.”
Jim Byrne rode the filly in what was her fourth race start and later apologised to Dunn after she had started so well and led.
The plan had been to get a sit.
"She raced a little bit fresh,” Byrne said.
"She's a better horse when she races in behind them but we got away with it today.”
Dunn wasn't concerned and said "she had blinkers on last preparation but she's a lot smarter now”.
"We might take them off next start,” he said of a run which could be in a Brisbane three-year-old fillies race.
BALLINA trainer Ethan Ensby was involved in his first deadheat yesterday.
The young horseman had first emergency Swoop in the Maiden Hcp (1400m) and the former John Sargent-trained three-year-old gelding almost stole the race from topweight The Big Eater.
Beaudesert-trained The Big Eater had looked all over a winner as he swooped on Swoop in the straight and just before the line had a clear advantage.
However, The Big Eater's head was coming back up and Swoop's head drove through to join his opponent's head in perfect unison on the line.
Judge John Sullivan, officiating at one of his final race meetings after more than 30 years, had another deadheat to adjudicate on following the recent Murwillumbah Cup.
It was a great result for Ensby. "His last run was good (10th on the Gold Coast) after he got caught on the fence.” he said.
BALLINA trainer Stephen Lee claimed the $30,000 Lismore Workers Club Rousillon Hcp (1516m) for a third time with Spiral ($7).
The six-year-old gelding son of Lonhro held off Queen of Kingston by a long neck with Anne Bonny another one and three-quarter lengths back in third.
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AKAGE sneaked home to beat Last Light in the Class 2 Showcase Hcp (1516m).
The Brian Crowley-trained mare is a late bloomer, not getting to Crowley at his Gold Coast stable until she was four.
In 10 starts since, Akage has won three races and more than $40,000 in prizemoney.
"Not bad for $1000,” Brian Crowley said of her purchase price.
"My daughter bought her at Scone and sent her up to me.”
Akage had been broken in but was "in a paddock” until she was sent north.
She excelled yesterday, leading and defying Last Light to run her down.
ALMAS forded a racing river not many gallopers achieve when he won the Showcase Sprint (1200m).
The Daniel Bowen-trained gelding, a four-year-old son of Mulaazem, took out the Untamed Sprint after a bumping duel with third-placed Mystic Moon over the first 200m of the Lismore straight.
"He's gone from a maiden to open company in the one prep,” Bowen said after his gelding had beaten Counter Meal with Mystic Moon third.
"Not many horses do that.”
Almas was having his 16th start in the Untamed Sprint and picked up a fifth win while boosting his prizemoney to more than $76,000 for owner Steve Butcher.
"He's always had ability,” Bowen said.
"He's been placed well and drew a good barrier today.”
Bowen and Butcher were hopeful of winning a Kosciuszko slot but Bowen said "he's 12 months away from something like that”.
For jockey Matt McGuren, the run was outstanding.
"It was a big step,” McGuren said. "Five weeks between runs without a trial. Up in grade too.”