Isla Poppy storms in from the hills to clinch Jacaranda Cup
JACARANDA CUP: There were plenty of flies caught by the Clarence River Jockey Club crowd after a little-known galloper from the western hills stormed through a split-second opening to clinch the SMEC Australia Jacaranda Cup (1100m).
Isla Poppy ($6.50) trained out of the Wayne Oakenfull stable in Inverell made it her 20th time in the money from a seasoned 37-start career as she stormed past the post in a fast 1:02.50.
According to the trainer jockey Terry Treichel ran the perfect race on board the veteran mare sitting four deep and one off the rail for most of the journey.
Oakenfull's heart was in his mouth as in-form Danielle Cunningham-trained Aimalac Millie (Carla Dougherty, $3 fav) made an early charge around the outside of the field.
But as the field turned for the last time a gap a chance opened in front of Treichel and with speed to burn Isla Poppy thundered through to the lead from Hydrazine (Eric Cheung, $3.40) and Aimalac Millie.
"It was a really, really good run," Oakenfull said. "She ran very well Coffs Harbour about three weeks ago, was well back in a 1000m race and made very good ground late. So she has shown this form before.
"Terry is a fantastic rider, I have had a lot of luck with him over the years and he rode that mare perfectly out there. He rode no extra distance with her and that last 100m really showed when he let her down.
"She is a funny little mare but once you get her into a rhythm she will just relax and sit perfectly for the run."
It had been three weeks since the mares last showing at Coffs Harbour in the Spring Fly (1007m) a freshening period that Oakenfull believes sits perfectly for her.
"I always give her a few weeks between gallops because she likes to be fresh for the run," he said.
"I don't leave her at the track, I have a little farm at Inverell where she goes into a paddock most days and that set-up really seems to agree with her.
"We don't smash her on the track, we look after her, and now we're reaping the rewards for that."
SMEC Australia regional manager Adam Watts was on hand along with the 2016 Jacaranda Queen party to present the Jacaranda Cup to the winning connections of Isla Poppy.
"Personally I would like to thank the CRJC for putting up such a wonderful event and providing the opportunity for a global organisation like SMEC the chance to support local racing," he said.