A decision by father and son trainers Robert and Luke Price to freshen up Noble Joey before running him in the $150,000 THE PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER paid off with the four-year-old taking out the feature race.
The Kembla trained galloper, who was well in the betting at $5, held off the fast finishing Better Not Blue ($2.10), trained at the same track by Michelle Ritchie, to win by a short neck with Kris Lees race favourite Princess Posh ($1.70) a long neck behind in third.
Excited scenes greeted jockey Kathy O’Hara as she returned to scale with the ownership group including breeder Warren McMaster, his daughter Julie Thompson and four other members of their family.
Warren is recovering from a knee replacement and had to be content watching the race on television. “It’s just so exciting, “Julie Thompson said after the race. “My dad bred him at his property at Yerringbool Noble Park. It’s a shame he can’t be here to see this but it will certainly give him a lift.
“My kids are in him as well. It is just such a wonderful feeling.” Showing great gate speed Kathy O’Hara took Noble Joey to the lead finding the fence in the early stages.
He drew around two lengths clear on straightening and held on to stave off the fast finishing placegetters.
The win brought up the six victory for Noble Joey from 16 starts. “He’s been a lovely horse,” Rick Price said after the race. “He gave us a bit of grief early but he really tries hard and he showed that today.
“He’s just a good horse and this is a great result for everyone.”
Rick said he gave the gelding a break following his narrow defeat at Randwick over 1200m on January 21.
“He’s a horse that doesn’t need a lot of work.
“I took him down to Nowra and rode him myself in a trial, gave him a couple of days at the farm and that really topped him off. “We will have to play it by ear now and decide if we need to start him again before the final.
“It’s a bit tricky but I’m thinking at this stage that I’ll probably do the same thing and just trial him.
“It worked today.”
The win completed a great day for the stable with Flying Forward ($4) also scoring an impressive front running win over 1350m.
The consistent Charge Forward gelding will head to the paddock after bringing up back to back wins taking out the STRAMIT BUILDING PRODUCTS CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1350m) by two and a quarter lengths.
“He’s a really nice horse and we will give him some time off now and space his runs to target the 2018 Provincial Series, “ co-trainer Luke Price said.
“He had a few issues when he came to us so we’ve taken our time with him. “It was like he had forgotten how to win. It was worth taking him down to the Sapphire Coast to get a win. It really did him the world of good.
“I thought he was really well placed and weighted in today’s race so we were confident.
“He can go for a well deserved holiday now and I’m confident he will come back even better.”
Ridden by Kathy O’Hara, Fly Forward has now had three wins and eight placings from 13 starts. He beat the Jason Coyle trained Hinch ($7.60), with the Joe Pride’s favourite So Spirited ($2.60) a nose behind in third.
The Joe Pride trained Lady Dane ($2.60) put on an impressive performance shaving over half a second off the class record to take out the INSURANCE HOUSE 3YO MAIDEN HANDICAP.
A half sister to Stakes winner Ladys Angel, the Dane Shadow filly made easy work of the 1200m, after being settled just behind the leaders by jockey Bobby El-Issa. She drew away on straightening to score a two-length victory and claim a 20-year class record.
Trainer Joe Pride said he is hopeful Lady Dane could measure up to Stakes racing.
“I don’t want to put too much expectation on her early but her half-sister raced well at Stakes level so hopefully she can too,” he said. “It was a nice win today and she bounced back from Warwick Farm with a good performance.
“The track was downgraded at Warwick Farm to heavy and that didn’t really suit her.
“She will definitely improve on what she’s done today.”
Bobby El-Issa was full of praise for the filly saying he had the race in hand at the 600m mark. “She’s a nice filly and I was able to dictate the terms today.
“She put the writing on the wall with her first run at Wyong when she finished third and she is only going to get better after this.”
Having her second start following a lengthy spell, Lady Dane beat The Happy Lady ($2.50) trained by Jim and Greg Lee, with Garry Nickson’s Mandalong Belle ($2.20) a neck behind in third.
Another class record in the 1300m DIGGA 2YO MAIDEN PLATE with the $2.10 race favourite Toga Pick getting up in the last stride to score a half head victory.
Trained by John O’Shea the debutant could be aimed at the $500,000 Champagne Stakes if he continues to improve.
“It was an impressive performance today,” foreman Joe Azzopardi said. “There is talk of heading him toward the Champagne Stakes and the 1600m shouldn’t be a problem.
“He came from well back at his barrier trial at Warwick Farm and just got pipped on the line.
“I was worried when he was so far back but he got there in the end.”
The Lonhro colt was a little slow from the gates, with Brenton Avdulla settling him a little worse than mid-field.
On turning he was four lengths behind the leaders but continued to make ground winning narrowly on the line from John Thompson’s The Man ($1.50), with The Mission ($1.50) trained by Paul Perry, third.
Joe Pride’s first foray into breeding didn’t take long to pay dividends after Springer’s ($16.50) win in the BRIAN HILTON KIA MAIDEN HANDICAP (1000 metres).
The victory brought up a training double for the Pride stable. Ridden by Jay Ford, the three-year-old debutant, settled just behind the leaders, hitting the front around the 150m mark and fighting on to score a neck victory.
Second was James Cummings’ short-priced favourite Seeblume ($1.04) who stormed down the outside after eventually finding clear running. The Andrew McDonald trained Nyah ($3.70) was third.
An excited Joe Pride said he had decided to breed Springer after being approached by long term owner/breeder, Dr Louse Nutman. “We inherited the mare from a bad debt and decided to put her to Snippetson, “ Joe said.
“It’s the first horse I’ve ever bred and we even had to decide on new colours.
“It was a real thrill to see her win first up. She showed a bit of tenacity today and it was a very good effort.
“She needs to strengthen up a bit so I won’t rush her.
“I’ll take her a long slowly and I like to think she’s got improvement in her.”
The filly had two Metropolitan trials leading into the race.
An excited group of owners greet the Jason Coyle trained Siren’s Fury ($2.30) when she returned to scale after a strong win in the 1350m PFERD METRO & PROV MAIDEN PLATE.
Ridden by Tye Angland, the three-year-old filly was resuming from a spell having been placed on the Beaumont track and finishing fourth at Warwick Farm in her first preparation.
She went into the Wyong race with two trials, finishing second at Rosehill on February 14.
Jason Coyle expects the filly to improve over more ground and is now likely to head toward the Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic over 1600m on March 10. “It’s nice when you think they’ve got ability and they show it,” Jason said after the race.
“It was an impressive win today and by the look of her she might get up to 2000m. “They usually sprint quite well fresh when they are looking for that sort of distance and hopefully that will be the case with her.”
Tye Angland said the filly was a “bit flat footed on the corner” but raced strongly in the straight to run down the leaders. Siren’s Fury beat Tutu ($1.04) by a neck, with the Damien Lane trained Neon Jungle ($3.60), three quarters of a length behind in third.
A patient ride by Kerrin McKevoy saw the Gary Moore trained El Corazon ($5.40) bring up his second career victory showing a great turn of foot to upset the more favoured runners.
The Nadeem gelding, who was nursed into the straight by Kerrin, drew away in the final stages to score a dominant win in the 1000m PRO ALI DESIGN CLASS 1 HANDICAP.
Stable foreman Mark Chevalier said the four-year-old had some issues but they knew he had the speed and condition to run well first up. “He’s had a few issues but we knew he had his head in the right space today.
“Gary had him spot on today and it was a wonderful patient ride by Kerrin.
“We were expecting him to perform well and he did. “We will see how he pulls up after today but probably keep him around this distance. “He likes to race fresh so his runs will be spaced.”
Kerrin said it was a good first up effort from the gelding.
El Corazon beat Grant Allard’s Neretva ($7.60), with the $2.60 race favourite Clevedon Bay,
Another on pace win by the Bjorn Baker trained Long Juan Feng ($16.80) who surprised not only punters but the stable with his third up win in the 1600m MILWAUKEE BENCHMARK 70 HANDICAP.
Maddie Berkeley, representing the Baker stable, said she was a “little bit shocked” by the win.
“We didn’t think he would go that well but he was ridden beautifully by James,” Maddie said.
“We thought he might have needed the run but it didn’t pan out that way. “He’s an out and out one pacer and once he gets to the front he just needs to roll along and he’s done a terrific job today.”
James Innes Jnr said Long Juan Feng had relaxed beautifully in front.
“He’s missed the start in his last couple of runs but he jumped well today and was able to relax in the lead.
“It was a good win.” The three-year-old More Than Ready colt, a $210,000 2015 Inglis Premier Sales purchase, brought up his third victory from nine starts.
He beat Gary Moore’s $2.90 favourite Classic Records by a nose, with Superbee ($1.50) a long neck behind in third.