Three-way thriller in Grafton
YOUNG apprentice Anthony Allen was as confused as most punters following a three-way thriller in yesterday's Iluka Bowling Club Iluka Cup (1200m) at Grafton.
After perusing the official photo-finish print, judge John Sullivan gave Allen's mount, the Graeme Want-trained Extra Exceleration ($5), the nod by the barest of margins - a nose from Getyourown (Allan Chau) and Ibalance (Mitch Hayward) a short half-head away in third.
The trio are all locally-trained.
"I wasn't sure if my horse had won," the 19-year-old said after dismounting. "I hoped he'd hung on.
"Gee, it was close. It wasn't until I saw my horse's number on the board (semaphore) that I knew.
"It was a relief. I started cheering, patting my horse."
Allen, born in Cessnock and a Grafton resident for the past five years, sported a huge grin after his 34th career win.
"My horse is a real fighter," Allen said of the lightly raced five-year-old, now the winner of four from 12 starts.
"When he saw the other horse (Getyourown) coming back, he pinned his ears and fought back.
"At the finish I was more scared Ibalance had won. It came quick on the inside of us."
Ibalance's defeat was described by trainer John Shelton as "a tragedy."
Unfortunately, a split second before the barriers opened, the gelding leaned on the back of the stall, missed the jump, tailed off and even copped a check near the 600m.
His effort to charge home along the inside to get so close was remarkable.
Coffs Harbour horseman Gordon Yorke didn't have to worry about photo finishes, As Sweet As and promising Footprintinthesand strolling home after leading throughout. Both were ridden by Stephen Traecey and started at $5 and $4.80 respectively.
Footprintinthesand was purchased as a weanling by Yorke. He races the four-year-old mare withy friend Gary Lawler.
The mare is out of Gimcrack Stakes runner-up Kasey Ann.
"She chipped her knee after Gosford (August 17)," Yorke revealed. "I was shattered.
"She's lost a little zing out of the gates but if we can get her up to 1200 metres, there's a decent race in her."
Nostalgia reigned for jockey Scott Seamer after winning aboard Bymonashee ($10) in the Corporates Events @ CRJC Maiden Plate (1100m).
Bymonashee is out of Miss Banora, a mare Seamer won races aboard in the 1990s and held the 1000m track record at Eagle Farm for nearly a decade.
Miss Banora was trained by Kev Kelly, who bred Bymonashee and is a part-owner of the Bill Pholi trained four-year-old.
"He's still got a bit to learn but a nice horse," Seamer said. "He's nowhere right yet. Open to further improvement."
Seamer, a Caulfield-Melbourne cup winner aboard Ethereal, was asked if he had any prospects down south this spring.
"No. I'm flat out getting rides in Brisbane. They've pensioned me off up there," he joked.
Seamer's winning ride however, was full of merit.
"He's lost none of his vigour looking at that," suggested Dean Smith, standing in for Pholi.
Memories of Gary Robson were revived after Intoxicated led throughout to win the R Kerr Electrical/TLE Electrical Benchmark 55 Hcp (2114m).
Robson died some 12 months back and was a part-owner of the Graeme Birney-trained five-year-old.
Troy Johnstone, a former top Northern Rivers footballer and fellow part owner said: "This is great. Gary would have loved it.
"I'll bet he's cheering from upstairs (heaven)."
Raymond Spokes picked up the late ride. Spokes controlled the race to a nicety, Intoxicated ($9 ) hanging on to beat Weekend Disciples and Storm Fabulador.