Jerezana sprints home to victory
STRAIGHT after Jerezana gave Sheikh Mohammed's Darley back-to-back wins in the $130,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) yesterday, head trainer Peter Snowden made a promise to Grafton.
“I promise I'll be there myself next year, trying to make it three in a row,” Snowden said by phone from Sydney.
Snowden, 54, raised at Scone, missed Pinwheel's win last year due to family commitments and this year returned from a 10-day business trip to England only on Tuesday.
Jerezana, the bonny four-year-old mare by former Australian Horse of the Year Lonhro, produced a jet-propelled finish from last to win the time-honoured sprint.
Starting at $8.50 and ridden by a little-known Newcastle jockey, 33-year-old Andrew Gibbons, Jerezana scored by a length from Falco Star ($41) with the heavily-backed Motspur ($4.60 favourite) a short head away third.
Topweight Black Piranha ($4.80) had little luck, finishing fifth.
Snowden's last visit to Grafton was 36 years ago when he nearly died following a race fall in the 1975 Ramornie aboard One Eyed Queen.
“I haven't been back since that fall, not by choice, but circumstance,” Snowden said.
“I vividly remember the fall. One Eyed Queen clipped heels near the 800 metres and came down. Just about the whole field went over me.
“I remember coming to, still groggy and thinking, ‘I‘m dead for sure'.”
Gibbons showed plenty of patience to secure the win.
“I have to thank my manager Wayne Harris for getting me the ride and Peter Snowden for showing faith in me,” Gibbons said.
“They told me she had an amazing turn of foot but not to get itchy, not to pull the trigger too early. When she got out, she went whoosh.”
Jockey Robert Thompson, who rode runner-up Falco Star, agreed.
“I hit the front momentarily but that mare (Jerezana) flew past me,” he said. “Gee she can quicken.”
Michael Rodd, rider of Black Piranha, said the dual group one winner “had no luck”.
Rodd was later suspended for five meetings for causing interference in a minor race.