At long last, a Kirby winner
By GRAHAME TIMBRELL
KEMPSEY trainer Barry Ratcliff has been trying for five years to win the Sir James Kirby Handicap (1000m), the traditional final race on cup day.
In the previous four years he started Hurricane Stroller and while she failed to win he saw her run second at one attempt.
Yesterday Ratcliff finally got his wish with Langfibian, a four-year-old mare he paid just $5000 for at a tried horse sale.
"I have been practising my speech for this race for five years," Ratcliff said.
"This is one race I have always wanted to win.
"The funny thing is I bought this horse for someone else and then he decided he did not want her.
"He told me he thought she only had limited ability.
"I decided to keep her for myself and it was the best decision I ever made."
Since arriving at Ratcliff's stable Langfibian has won nine races and almost $96,000 in prize money.
"When I bought her she had won a maiden at Cessnock," Ratcliff said.
"The more I did with her the more I was convinced she was a sprinter of above-average ability and this win has proved me correct.
"The start of the race was delayed when the Graeme Rogerson trained Sydney Symphony reared in the starting stalls, hurting himself and jockey Hugh Bowman.
Sydney Symphony was scratched on veterinary advice while Bowman was limping when brought back to the jockeys' room.
Port Macquarie jockey Marlon Dolendo sent Langfibian ($8) straight to the lead from barrier one and was never headed.
She held on to win by half a length from Irish Loup ($7) with the $5 favourite Lock The Key, the 2003 Kirby winner, a further length away third.
Langfibian's winning time, 56.40 secs was just outside Sir Canny's race and track record of 56.35 secs set in 2004.
Ratcliff said Langfibian would be aimed at the Diamond Dash (1000m) at Coffs Harbour on cup day, August 3.