In a day that was dominated by Canberra and Goulburn trainers, the Kerry Weir prepared Foxlike has saved face for local connections at Gundagai Adelong Race Club on Sunday, proving too strong in the feature race, the 1400m Benchmark 66 Handicap.
The Tumut runner that was ridden by Simon Miller, jumped well and sat on the early leader’s hip, before kicking on in the home straight and holding on for a 0.17 of a length win over the Mitch Beer trained pair of Bezos and Damselfly’s Kept.
Those who followed the seven-year-old Foxwedge gelding were rewarded too, with the old boy paying $26 fixed and $16.70 on the NSW tote.
Funnily enough, it isn’t the first time the Weir runner has saluted at big odds this preparation, having won two from five since returning, popping up at 50/1 at Wagga back on July 14.
Weir was pleased to land his second winner of the season and fourth winner in 17 starts.
“It is good to win the feature event on the program,” Weir said.
“He is having a good prep and keeps on turning up.”
Weir admitted he didn’t think a month between runs was ideal for Foxlike, who pulled up lame after his last start 14th at Wagga.
“He had a month off in between runs because the other day at Wagga, the horse in the barrier next to him went off and jumped all over his leg,” Weir said.
“He was lame for a week and that is why he was a month between runs.”
The result didn’t surprise Weir, although he thought he may have needed one run to be fully fit over the 1400m journey.
“I told the owners he would run in the first three and was an each-way chance,” Weir said.
“I didn’t know if he was fit enough to run 1400m after a bit of a break.”
Regardless, Foxlike proved too good in a very strong race, and Weir said the secret to his locally owned runner was simple.
“If you can get him out, and get him in a good spot, you’ll be right,” Weir laughed.
“I told Simon to be super positive and get him going early, which he did.”
The 44-start veteran is certainly in a purple patch of form, having now won five career starts and earning connections $91,520 in prizemoney.
Unfortunately, Foxlike’s win was the only time locals were celebrating on Sunday, with visiting trainings having their way at Gundagai.
In the opening event, the Peter Morgan trained, and Mathew Cahill ridden Jag was far too strong, bolting in for a 2.61 length victory in the 1400m Maiden Handicap, holding off Mai Time and Lady Animalia.
In the second race, Kerry Weir’s Deemed Corrupt was game running second in the 1180m Maiden handicap, just running into one better on the day, with Crucial Witness getting the job done for Gratz Vella, winning by 1.5 lengths.
Ridden by Mathew Cahill, who landed an early race-to-race double with the victory, the well supported Canberra runner was a stylish winner, while Clay Pin Boogie caught the eye when flashing home for third.
The odds-on commodity Delacour was a level above his competitors in the third event, winning by 3.13 lengths in the 1000m Maiden Plate.
Brandan Ward had an easy job in the saddle, holding off Maya Miracle and Mo More Chicken.
The fourth event saw the fast-finishing Royal Monarch for John Rolfe greet the judge first in the 1400m Class Two Handicap.
Mick Heagney left his run perfectly, storming over the top of Estaveridi and Sumdeel for a 0.14 of a length victory.
Foxlike won the fifth on the card, proving a little too good for the Mitch Beer trained pair of Bezos and Damselfly’s Kept in the Benchmark 66 Handicap.
Rent A Rock was another heavily tried favourite that was too good on the day when winning the 1800m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
The Danny Williams runner was ridden a treat by Blaike McDgouall, proving a little strong for Every Girl and Dave Blundell’s Only A Dream, who finished third after looking the winner with a furlong to go.
Danny Williams and Blaike McDougall finished the meeting with a race-to-race double when Denesc won the 1180m Class One Handicap.
McDougall sat quietly on the six-year-old Denman mare before exploding away for 1.27 length victory over Who Told Ya and She’s All In.
The Gundagai-Adelong Race Club will now get some time to decompress before preparing for the annual Snake Gully Cup carnival on November 13 and 14.
Winners and losers
The Andy Groves owned Tan line was again in the money when running second in the 1600m Maiden Plate at Albury on Thursday.
The Mick Miladinovic trained runner found the line nicely with Mick Heagney in the saddle but ran into one better on the day when beaten by Packer’s Bond, beaten nearly six lengths.
Tan line has now finished two good seconds in a row and could be worth following next time out.
Todd Smart had two runners in action at Albury on Thursday, finishing second with Underthespotlight and fifth with Hallo Poppet.
Hallo Poppet, who had Patrick Scorse in the saddle, was well beaten in the 1600m Benchmark 58 handicap, finishing 8.45 lengths off the winner.
Underthespotlight caught the eye though, beaten only 0.5 of a length in the 900m Maiden Plate.
Ridden by Winona Costin, the Canberra runner found the line well and shouldn’t be far off a win this prep.
In the same 900m Maiden Plate, the Jim Scobie trained Sugarplum Mary also caught the eye, finishing strongly for fifth place, beaten 3.2 lengths.
Richard Bensley had to take the five-year-old back to the rear of the field from the outside draw before finishing strongly, and connections should be expecting improvement next time out.
The Michelle Russell trained Taliano finished a handy second in the 1400m Class Two Handicap at Albury on Thursday.
Blaike McDougall took the ride, and after going back early, Taliano finished hard on the outside, beaten only 0.28 of a length.
The locally owned Heza Gentleman was a little disappointing at Hawkesbury on Saturday, finishing ninth and beaten 4.61 lengths.
The Mitch and Desiree Kearney trained, and Grant Buckley ridden four-year-old looked to have a soft sit outside the early leader but failed to kick on.
Todd Smart will venture to Queanbeyan today, with Mr Maharaj contesting race one, the 1200m Class Two Handicap.
Blaike McDougall jumps aboard the Canberra runner who draws gate eight.
The former Gundagai trainer looks to have a good chance too, with the three-year-old a good winner at Cowra three starts back, before running a solid third at Canberra last start.
The locally owned Reason To Smile jumps from gate seven in the third event at Queanbeyan today for Canberra trainer, Norm Gardner.
The Unencumbered mare has Kayla Nisbet in the saddle in the 1460m Benchmark 58 Handicap and was a good winner Narrandera two starts back.
Bullock returns with a bang
Aaron Bullock returned from suspension at Muswellbrook on Thursday, riding a hat-trick of winners, demonstrating why he is regarded as one of the best jockeys in NSW.
The Tumut born and bred hoop started the meeting with a good win aboard the Kris Lees trained Berruti, who saluted by 0.53 of a length in the 1000m Maiden Handicap.
Bullock then teamed up with Richard Litt in the 1280m Class One Handicap, guiding Dynamited to a 0.1 of a length victory.
In the following race, Bullock was riding for Cody Morgan and secured his hat-trick of victories when booting home Blazing Tycoon in the 1280m Benchmark 66 Handicap.
Last week’s results mean Bullock has ridden seven winners for the season at an attractive strike rate of 36.8 percent.
Bullock will now prepare for three rides at Scone today, jumping aboard Carco for Troy O’Neile, Costas for Brett Thompson and My Rose My Kingdom for Tanya Randell.