Three wins for the week take season total to 119
Wins at Forbury - Thursday, Addington - Friday and Ashburton - Sunday, have kept alive the hopes of the Robert Dunn stable in taking out this year's trainers premiership.
Starting this week, the difference was nine, but an upset in the last race that night at Forbury Park with Vanhalem getting home at odds of 16-1 reduced the margin to eight. This win provided junior reinsman Craig Smith with just his second win, his first just five weeks previous with the same horse. This was a great reward for Craig who has done a fantastic job in running the team based at Mosgiel for the last five weeks.
Onto Addington Friday night and a telling blow was struck early, with Franco Cristiano defeating Heaven Rocks in the Breeders Crown heat for the 3yr old colts and geldings. Beaten for speed off the gate, it appeared that Franco Cristiano would be forced to trail throughout and take his shot in the straight. However, the whole nature of that contest changed at the 1700m as Heaven Rocks broke and lost all real hope of victory. Franco Cristiano was able to stroll to victory by seven and a half lengths in 2.23.1 for the 1950m and in doing so confirming a trip over the Tasman. He continues what has been a successful return to the track over the last month after an injury enforced layoff. He is realising all of the potential he showed in the spring before going amiss. The win of Franco Cristiano was balanced out however, by another win to the Purdon/Rasmussen team with the very smart Mr Mojito again increasing the deficit to eight.
At yesterday's Ashburton meeting and the sole win came courtesy of another stable newcomer in Extreme Guest. A 20 start maiden before yesterday, Extreme Guest had been long overdue for his maiden win, with six seconds and two thirds previously. Formerly trained by his part owner Mark Smolenski, Mark's frustrations at not getting that win that he knew was there, saw him pass the horse onto John at the beach. As has often been the case, the new surroundings quickly paid dividends.
John was able to step the Extreme Guest 5yr old to an early lead, before handing up to Badentyre at the 1900m. Badentyre then handed up to the favourite J Nine shortly after giving the two trailling horses nice runs throughout. Once into the big Ashburton straight, it was first Badentrye and then Extreme Guest that were able to secure passing lane runs, albeit in cramped quarters. At the same time however, the swoopers were comimg wide and it appeared that Lavros Vance was coming with the winning run. But John, getting everything out of Extreme Guest ws able to get in the deciding stride by a narrow margin, just ahead of Lavros Vance.
Extreme Guest is the third foal and third race winner out of Beach Guest. He is certainly a maiden that deserved a win and he rewards the perseverance of his owners Mark and Carolyn Smolenski.
Other runs of note yesterday included Danse Macabre, in a smart C1 field, that ran a nice third after leading, while Blood And Whisky showed that a win is close at hand with a nice third behind the very impressive Matatoki.
With two weeks to go in the current season, the battle for the premiership is 126-119 in favour of the Purdon/Rasmussen stable.
Posted: Sun 17 Jul 2016