Horses jump for race 5 at Grafton Races yesterday.
Horses jump for race 5 at Grafton Races yesterday. Adam Hourigan

McLeods cheer on rabbit

“GO RABBIT, come on....get up Rabbit,” eagerly yelled Vicki McLeod from the confines of the press room at Grafton races yesterday.

Rabbit, aka five-year-old Santiara, trained by her husband Phil McLeod, ran like a startled rabbit, breezed home like a southerly buster over the latter stages to provide the McLeod stable a winning double.

The first leg went to ‘Chopper,’ aka Black Katana, the former Queenslander plucked from obscurity by McLeod.

Stable names are not uncommon in the McLeod yard, nor most training establishments.

Vicki, the hard working backbone of the stable, thoroughbred enthusiast and staunch supporter of her husband, adds a personal touch with TLC and a nickname for every horse.

While the McLeod family’s delight, including son Anthony was obvious, spare a thought for stable rider Craig Franklin.

Franklin was booked for both horses but as fate would have it, fell ill on race morning and missed the winning rides.

Victory is usually a great tonic for most ailments. However, doubtless Franlkin’s pain would have been accentuated....if only.

Apprentice Joshua Jones picked up the mount aboard Black Katana, part-owned by Wayne Magann, in the Bettortrader Maiden (1100m) with Darron Coleman aboard Santiara, owned by Sydney-based long term client, Maurice Ward in the Yamba Shores Tavern Benchmark 55 Handicap (1100m). Ward was in Prague yesterday.

“Mauri rang me in the morning and asked how she’d go,” McLeod revealed.

“I told him the 16 alley makes it hard.” Ironically Santiara and Black Katana both drew the same outside barrier.

Santiara, a mare by Beautiful Crown from Santreno Lass bred by McLeod and a half sister to multiple Ramornie placed Forestreno back in work for three weeks, scored win number four and it ranked as one of her best.

“What’s he (Coleman) doing,” McLeod winced when Santiara was back with the cap cathers in the early stages.

“She can’t win from there.

“He’s set her too big a task.” McLeod’s early thoughts proved awry.

Coleman, riding with the paitence of Jobe, allowed Santiara to drift the widest runner on straightening and the bonny mare reeled in her opposition, hook line and sinker to beat Lotsahula and Zoe Eliese.

“She lets down quick,” commented the experienced Coleman on dismounting.

McLoed plans to rethink the mare’s future.

Black Katana was purcahed privately by McLeod got up in the final bound to beat hot favourite Tier and The Big Kaboosh.

“I’ll regroup and may give him some time off now then look to the July carnival,” McLeod said.

Four-year-old Mauled continued his rise under Bruce Swan with back to back wins in the Maclean Cellars Benchmark 60 Handicap (1410m), ridden by Raymond Spokes. The gelding arrived out wide in the nick of time to beat Shezahotshot (Coleman).

“I thought I’d won,” Lamented Coleman. “But we were wide apart.”

Alas, so did many other punters on course.

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