Song Time hits high note
July Racing Carnival
By Tony White
JOCKEY Nigel Seymour was raised in a house across the road from Grafton racecourse.
But despite riding at tracks across NSW and Queensland the 30-year-old, amazingly, had never ridden at a Grafton July Racing Carnival before this year.
Yesterday, Seymour, now based on the North Coast, combined with Song Time, a horse formerly trained by the late Des Burns in Dalby, to win the feature $45,000 South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club South Grafton Cup (1600m).
"What a blast. I lived across the road from the track but for one reason or another I'd never ridden at this carnival," Seymour said.
"It's great to come back here (Grafton) and win a big race, especially for Stephen Lee."
Following Burns' death earlier this year, Ballina's Stephen Lee took over the training of the five-year-old gelding when Gold Coast-based owner Eric Bouveng, who races Song Time with his son, Stephen, rang the trainer on the recomendation of a mutual friend.
"Eric sent down a General Nediym two-year-old and this horse (Song Time) came with him," Lee said.
"I set Song Time for the South Grafton Cup some time back."
Lee has done an outstanding job with the gelding. In six runs since coming under the astute horseman's care, Song Time has produced five wins and a second.
Song Time was well known to Brisbane racegoers under plunge king Burns, once being backed from 66-1 into 20s and collecting the cash for his supporters.
"This might sound like I'm blowing in my pocket, but I was very confident going into today's race. It's a great result," Lee said.
"When he won his first race for me by two and a half lengths I didn't think he was fit enough to win, but he showed me what a good horse he is.
"I tend to keep him fresh. He hadn't raced for a month before today, but that's the way he races best.
"He's been bucking his brands off. He's a very good doer and you've just got to keep an eye on his weight."
Song Time looked a picture in the mounting yard and raced right up to his good looks.
Starting at $11 and ridden perfectly by Seymour, Song Time beat Queensland-trained Mr Hornblower with Allan Robinson's mount Windon, third.
Lee will now set Song Time for the Ballina Cup on his home track.
The secret to Song Time's much improved form has been Lee's change in the gelding's routine.
"Yeah, we just changed a few things with him, he thrives on beach work, he's very clean winded, and I don't do a lot with him on the track," he said. "He likes being kept fresh."
Favourite punters were dealt a cruel blow just before the start when heavily backed $2.50 top elect Mr Aristos was scratched at 4.06pm.
The Phil McLeod-trained gelding suffered abrasions to a hind leg when he lashed out at the back of the stalls and was taken out on veterinary advice.
It was a sad blow for McLeod, who had set Mr Aristos for the race after wonderful form in Sydney.