Motoki Okada on the way to riding Top Agenda to victory in the Class 3 handicap (1516m) at the Lismore Turf Club yesterday.
Motoki Okada on the way to riding Top Agenda to victory in the Class 3 handicap (1516m) at the Lismore Turf Club yesterday.

Top Agenda win shocks owner

CORAKI owner Kevin Whitehead admits he expected his six-year-old gelding Top Agenda ($32) to run last in a Class 3 Handicap (1516m) at the Lismore Turf Club TAB meeting yesterday afternoon.

However, the gelding registered an impressive two-and-three-quarter-length victory on the heavy track.

Top Agenda ($32) ran third last on a heavy track in a Benchmark 55 Handicap (1300m) at a Ballina TAB meeting a fortnight ago.

"I couldn't believe it because he just doesn't like heavy tracks," Whitehead said.

"Before the race the trainer (Tom Pratt) said we may as well put him on the truck and take him home.

"I hope the family backed him, although I told them not to.

"He ran away easily in the end.

"It was important that he got the lead because once he gets back in among the other horses he doesn't like it.

"We've trained him as a sprint horse and he's never run at the distance before either."

Whitehead enjoys any win he gets.

He worked as a travel agent in Ballina for 20 years after moving to Coraki from Beaudesert.

He will celebrate his 80th birthday this year.

"It's exciting because I breed the horses myself," Whitehead said.

"I've been lucky, you know, I say to people you don't have to go to the Magic Millions, you can breed them in a paddock at Coraki and win.

"I was talking to out trackwork rider just before and she thinks he (Top Agenda) is fantastic and says he runs like a machine."

Meanwhile, Port Macquarie jockey Marlon Dolendo had his first ride back in Lismore after a life-threatening illness last year.

Dolendo had a kidney transplant and has been back racing for a month, having already ridden nine winners.

"I've had a run at Coffs Harbour and Grafton but this is my first time back here," Dolendo said.

"I never thought I would race again and I only had the operation in August.

"I've been riding for 23 years and wouldn't even think about doing anything else.

"It hasn't slowed me down so I'm very lucky."

 

Lismore results

  • Race 1: Biko 1, Power Receiver 2, Natural Velocity 3.
  • Race 2: Just So Bruno 1, Snipari 2, Lillabelle 3.
  • Race 3: Major General 1, Oakfield Candy 2, Time Has Come 3.
  • Race 4: Top Agenda 1, Piccali 2, Funky Lady 3.
  • Race 5: Here To Rock 1, Yabbra 2, Clasped 3.
  • Race 6: Bass Rock 1, No Kobe No 2, Deebee Cooper 3.
  • Race 7: Darshan Joh 1, Medesano 2, Brooke's Command 3.
  • Race 8: Hundred Cube 1, Far Dooley 2, Thundershot 3.
  • Race 9: Punjab Rocket 1, McNeice 2, After Baron 3.


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