PINWHEEL WINS RAMORNIE: Global operation ends local hopes
IT was only the might of international racing conglomerate Darley that stopped a fairytale local win in yesterday's thrilling $130,000 WHK Ramornie (1200m).
Darley-owned Pinwheel, trained by Peter Snowden, outgunned Forestreno and Lifebuoy in the 94th running of the historic sprint.
"I knew I got there (in front) too early but, under the circumstances, I had no other option," Glen Colless, rider of the Phil McLeod-trained Forestreno said.
"Forestreno got to the front 100 yards too early.
"He ran a brave race."
McLeod, nursing a broken ankle, watched the race from under a picture of the late Sam Dougherty hanging in the Clocktower Hotel.
Pinwheel (Danny Nickolic), a four-year-old by champion Lonhro, started $3.30 favourite and scored by a length.
Sue Grills' outstanding galloper Border Rebel ($4.80), who led early, compounded under his 60kg impost to finish sixth.
Stablemate and John Carlton winner Ollie Vollie was declared a non-runner by stewards after getting its head over the adjoining partition moments before starter Rex Kelly pressed the go button.
Snowden was unable to make the trip due to Sydney commitments, stable foreperson, 30-year-old Lisa Stephenson, a former amateur jumps rider in Scotland and England, representing Darley.
"This is a great win, he's never disgraced himself and been very consistent," she said.
"He's in my stable section I look after in Sydney.
"I'm very pleased for Darley, Peter (Snowden), the horse and jockey.
"Obviously this (Grafton) is a lot different to Dubai but fun and pleasing to win."
Pinwheel took his record to six wins and six seconds from 12 starts.
Nickolic, 35, has a good association with Snowden and Darley, that has racing interests in six countries and is headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rasheed Al Maktoum, a member of the ruling Dubai royal family.
"I was lucky enough to ride Peter's first Group One winner Forensics and had a lot of luck riding for Darley," Nickolic said.
"I have a lot of respect for Peter and vice versa.
"When I got the run in the straight, shouldered out, I was always confident.
"Pinwheel is a real genuine racehorse."