Wyong trainer, Allan Denham, finally had some luck with his promising stayer Sunbury courtesy of a brilliant ride from Jason Collett in winning the Job Centre Australia Class One and Maiden (2100m) at Wyong today.
And in doing so the horse underlined his potential by smashing the previous class record that had stood for almost 16 years. His winning time of 2mins 10.95secs easily eclipsed the 2mins 12.01secs set by Raffute in August 2000.
“He should have won two or three races by now except for bad luck and bad barriers,” Denham said. “He had a bad barrier again today but the ride made up for it. “This was his first attempt at 2100 metres and I will keep him to these longer races now.”
Sunbury dived on the line to just win and beat the Godolphin filly Shoepeg, ridden by Brenton Avdulla.
Avdulla appeared to be in trouble coming to the turn but opted to go looking for an inside run, got it and almost stole the race except for the winners finishing burst.
Collett had Sunbury back last and second last until nearing the 800 metres when started to edge forward along the rail and got on the back of Shoepeg coming to the turn. He managed to get a split in the straight, set out after Shoepeg and grabbed her on the line.
Sunbury continues a long association between Allan Denham and before him his late father Jack and owner George Altomonte.
“We have trained for George for many, many years and had some good horses for him,” Denham said.
“He always sends me two or three to train for him.”
Gai Waterhouse and Tim Clark caught almost everyone off guard when Sylpheed, having her first start, was impressive in winning the Vietnam Veterans Keith Payne VC Hostel Two Year Old Maiden (1100m).
Despite being forced to race wide for most of the race of the race the filly was going away on the line to win by one and a half lengths. She won a trial at Randwick last month but punters and bookmakers alike ignored it and the filly firmed slightly late in betting from $18 to start at $17.
The only people at the meeting not surprised by the win were foreman Dave Meijer and the filly‘s strapper.
“We have had her ear marked for a while,” Meijer said. “Her work has been good and it was a good trial win and we came here confident. “She had the race won at the 600 metres.”
Clark was impressed. “We got cover and while she is only small it was a gutsy win,” Clark said.
Clark was back in the winner’s circle two races later when he led all the way on the Joe Pride trained I Am Magnificent to win the Lake Macquarie Sheetmetal Three Year Old Maiden (1200m).
And the way he won, at only his second start, suggests he may live up to his name.
At his debut run, at Gosford, I Am Magnificent missed the start yet ran home for a close second and Clark, who also rode him that day, said the horse had learned a lot from the experience.
“He got away well today and controlled the race and has improved on the Gosford run,” Clark said.
Approaching the turn Clark kicked the horse away to open up a break of several lengths and that move probably won him the race.
The Chris Waller trained Via Napoli finished second on debut, beaten a head, but while I Am Magnificent raced truly Via Napoli appeared to get a little lost in the run to the line.
Later in the day Pride landed a double when the well backed Sheilarized, ridden by Kathy O’Hara, looked ultra impressive in leading all the way to score a soft win in the Twin Lakes Air Class Two (1600m).
The filly was having her third start back from a spell and showed the benefit of the break.
“When she won her maiden at Randwick she was very fizzy but she is much more settled since she had a break,” O’Hara said. “She will always have a bit of that fizz about her but she is a progressive filly and is much more mature and showed that in the way she settled during the race.”
O’Hara dictated terms to suit her then let the filly open a break of two lengths approaching the turn when the challenges started to come.
Under no more than hands and heels riding Sheilarized quickly opened up a sizeable break in the straight to go on and win by four and a quarter lengths from Jayzou.
The Godolphin owned Lieder finally broke through and did it in style to win the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Maiden (1600m) for trainer John O’Shea.
The win came at the 11th start for the son of Street Cry but foreman Billy Jackson-Stops said the horse had been unlucky in several of those runs. “Hopefully this win will give him a lot of confidence,” Jackson-Stops said.
“John said this morning the horse had been working well and he thought he could win.”
Sam Clipperton settled the horse in fourth position, one off the fence before taking off at the 600 metres and racing away to win by four and a half lengths.
“I might have gone a fraction too soon but he was travelling so well there was no point waiting any longer,” Clipperton said.
Muswellbrook trainer Jan Bowen is uncertain where to heads with Tommy Two Toes following his win, in smart time, in the McDonalds Golden Pickle Class One (1000m).
“I have not looked any further ahead because he got beaten in a class One at Wellington which I thought he was certain to win and again in a Class One at Muswellbrook which everyone thought he would win,” Bowen said.
“Now that he has won this race and is no longer a Class One horse we will certainly be looking to see what is around for him. “We might even head straight down for a mid week race in Sydney.
“I don’t know yet, we will wait and see.”
Apprentice Winona Costin said Tommy Two Toes had received a bump at the start but once he balanced up had enjoyed having a solid speed on courtesy of Valderon and had enjoyed the chase.
The three year old came from third early to overhaul Valderon in the straight and win by two lengths in 57.70 seconds.
The Clarry Conners trained Aegean Sea (Brenton Avdulla) defied a betting drift to win the Nailery Australia Class One (1000m) at her third run back from a long break and possibly earn a trip to the Brisbane carnival.
Marc Conners, deputising for his father, said the long term plan was to get some black type around her pedigree.
The trainer has always had an opinion of the filly, a daughter of the deceased Beneteau, but she had 16 months on the sideline recovering from an injury after winning a two year old race in Sydney.
She resumed with a third at Hawkesbury followed by an eighth in the Gosford Guineas. “This was certainly easier than the Guineas but she is fully fit now,” Marc Conners said.
“She had a long time off because of an injury but she is over that and could well end up in Brisbane.”
Aegean Sea easily won the start from her wide barrier but Avdulla elected to settle back just off the pace. “I didn’t want to get involved in a speed battle,” Avdulla said.
He sent her to the lead in the straight and held off the favourite Magic Diamond to win by a long neck in a slick 57.19 seconds.
The John Thompson trained Realise Potential might finally be on the way to doing just that when he established a class record in winning the Emerge Solutions Benchmark 65 (1350m).
However jockey Jason Collett, who booted home Realise Potential for the second leg of a winning double, does not believe that the horse is “there yet.”
“He is getting better and when he finally gets it all together he will be a pretty handy horse,” Collett said.
“He is still making mistakes but he was better today than in his last couple of races.”
Realise Potential had been racing against some handy horses prior to this race and in winning set a class record of 1min 19.24secs, shading the previous best set by Slippery Moss two years ago.
Realise Potential won by a length from Gendebien with the locally trained Stradance and Prince High finishing third and fourth.