A win between mates
By TONY WHITE
TWO mates who met in the Jacaranda Hotel 20 years back shared in race success at the Grafton TAB meeting yesterday.
Retired public servant and former bookmaker Peter Lawrence and Grafton logging contractor Pat Bramich race three-year-old gelding Roma Dan along with five-time Northern Rivers premiership winning trainer John Shelton.
Ridden by Stephen Traecey, Roma Dan led throughout to win the Omni Champagne Maiden (1000m).
The gelding hung on to beat sensationally backed favourite Frisco's Vision and In Phnom Penh.
Bramich, a well-known Grafton racing identity, is a part-owner of this year's John Carlton Cup winner and twice Ramornie placegetter (2004-05) Sir Dan who is trained by Shelton.
"Pat and I met 20 years ago over a couple of beers in the Jacaranda Hotel," Lawrence said after the win. "We've been mates ever since I came to Grafton.
"It's great to race a horse with a couple of good mates."
Lawrence is also a part-owner of recent winner Dan's Gold, formerly trained by deceased Alan Abrahams and now under the care of Stephen Beetson.
Lawrence, Bramich and Shelton race Roma Dan on lease.
"He was bred by Barry Rogers and he's a half-brother to Halt (trained locally by Daniel Wheeler)," Lawrence said.
"Barry was after a couple of people interested in racing to lease Roma Dan and we were lucky enough to get that opportunity."
Roma Dan is by Nidan out of the Procol Harum mare, Seize.
The gelding made his debut at Casino back in May as a two-year-old finishing eighth of nine but was found to be shin sore and tipped out before returning for yesterday's win.
"He's a nice horse and it's great to race him with the boys," Shelton said.
Roma Dan's win thwarted a plunge on runner-up Frisco's Vision, trained by Brett Bellamy at Coffs Harbour and ridden by Raymond Spokes.
Unfortunately for backers of Frisco's Vision ($2.00 favourite), the four-year-old's back legs slipped ath the start and was with the tail enders on settling.
Set alight out wide in the straight Frisco's Vision steamed home to be beaten a half length.
Earlier the Shelton-trained Empire Rising, a new stable addition, was unluckily beaten in the Jim Bean Class Two Hcp (1600m).
Traecey had no luck from the jump, forced to track three and four deep on the former Newcastle-trained galloper.
After hitting the front soon after straightening, Empire Rising couldn't sprint with Coffs Harbour-trained Paleface Pete (Chris Whitley) but over the final 100m took ground off the winner suggesting he should get over more ground.
Paleface Pete is trained by Trevor Hardy and yesterday was his fourth run for the astute horseman.
"He won first up in a maiden for me then had no luck at his past two starts," Hardy said.
Whitley told Hardy on dismounting: "He was never going to get beat. He want to sleep for me.
"He tracked up really well but he's the sort of horse that needs room."