Jockey Matt Bennett.
Jockey Matt Bennett. Greg White

Phast finish for Casino horse at Ballina meeting

PHAST Lad stalked pacemaking Red Wolf and then ran the Grafton gelding down to win the $20,000 Benchmark 65 Handicap (1305m) at the Ballina TAB meeting yesterday.

The Casino-trained gelding, prepared by Tom Pratt, hasn't had much luck of late but that all turned around when Matt Bennett had him well positioned to run over the leader and score a sixth career win.

Bennett has been on the six-year-old son of Henrythenavigator in five of those six victories and was confident almost from the time the barriers crashed back.

"As soon as he jumped he was travelling like the winner,” Bennett said.

"I let him slide at the 600m and thought, let them catch me.”

Pratt prepares Phast Lad at Casino where he had him in line for a Beef Week Cup campaign but that was aborted after he "did a big star jump” and hit the top of a fence

"He injured his hock,”Pratt said.

"Now he's injury free again we might have a bit of fun with him.”

Meanwhile, Aquajewel rushed home to win her second Ballina sprint in seven days.

The Steven Phelps-trained mare had won on a heavy track at Ballina last Monday and replicated that yesterday.

She burst down the centre to beat the Brett Bellamy-trained Tiaconi in the $20, Benchmark 61 Handicap (1005m) on the Heavy 10 surface.

It was her fourth career win and fourth on a heavy track.

"She travelled stronger than I thought around the back,” jockey Matt McGuren said.

"Especially for a horse on a seven day back up.”

Phelps was delighted with the mare he has had now for five runs since "being sent down” by Queensland trainer Allan Jones.

"She's a beautiful horse,” Phelps said.

"I told Matty to put her to sleep and she'd do the rest.”

McGuren did and she let down impressively for another wet track success.

"Allan reckons she'll get 1400m,” Phelps said.

"I think she might get a little further.”

The four-year-old daughter of Love Conquers All might go for a spell now.

"I can't find anything for her,” Phelps said.

"So I might put her in the paddock for a month and bring her back.”

Sky Thoroughbred Central's Gary Kliese suggested she might just be a horse suited to the wet winter tracks, something Phelps agreed with wholeheartedly.

Racing returns to the Lismore next Friday.

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