Trainer John Thompson made Nash Rawiller “sign a contract” pre-race to ride Sweet Deal with cover at Newcastle on Saturday.
This might have been a mock gesture but it prompted Rawiller to ride exactly to instructions as Sweet Deal raced away from a top class field to win the $1 million The Hunter (1300m).
Thompson singled Rawiller out for praise immediately after his mare had won Newcastle’s richest race.
“You ride her like that and she attacks the line when she is racing on a firm track,’’ Thompson said. “It was an outstanding ride, Nash went around one horse. I could see she was travelling and he saved lengths going up on the inside of them.’’
Sweet Deal takes out the $1 million TAB Hunter! What a ripping mare and a beautiful ride from @nashhot 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/AfxkWImHe3
Rawiller confirmed Sweet Deal’s connections were “pretty adamant” the mare had to be ridden in a particular manner to produce her best.
“I had to ride Sweet Deal with a sit today and it’s great to see her bounce back,’’ Rawiller said. “She’s a bulldog. Obviously Special Reward kicked very well but it’s a different scenario when she can get a bunny to chase.
“She’s had a Group 3 win before and to come back and win a $1 million race, it’s not just exciting but it’s a great thrill to do it on her.
“I think she was my first Saturday city winner back after Hong Kong, obviously, after 15 months on the sidelines, and she’s just kept raising the bar as we’ve gone along.’’
Rawiller found the rail and settled midfield on Sweet Deal ($10) before sneaking through along the inside until nearing the 200m when she peeled off the back of leader Special Reward ($13) and sprinted past to win by a length with Asiago ($9.50) finishing fast for third, a length further back.
Ranier was sent out the $6 favourite but failed to run on, finishing eighth while Trumbull ($7) was always well back and wide before finishing ninth.
Sweet Deal gave Thompson his second win in a $1 million race this year after the trainer’s success with Dreamforce in the George Ryder Stakes back in the autumn.
Nash Rawiller got the job done on Sweet Deal in The Hunter. picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Thompson revealed Sweet Deal was very nearly retired to stud this spring breeding season before the decision was made to give her one more year on the racetrack.
“The owners were talking about retiring her but we got away with another 12 months,’’ Thompson said. “There is a lovely mares series or races during the autumn and we will have a crack at a Group 1 with her one last time.’’
Thompson said Sweet Deal’s spring campaign had been at times frustrating but ultimately very rewarding.
“We were supposed to run her last week (Hot Danish Stakes) but we didn’t run because of the wet track,’’ the trainer said. “She has had wide gates and wet tracks this spring, so it has been frustrating. She got away with a win first-up and got away with another today.’’
Champion Newcastle trainer Kris Lees and owners Australian Bloodstock had to settle for second again in The Hunter with Special Reward.
Tactical Advantage, who ran second in the inaugural The Hunter last year, backed up to give Lees the fourth placegetter on Saturday.
“We had no bad luck, we had our chances,’’ Lees said. “Aaron (Bullock) gave Special Reward the perfect ride but Sweet Deal pounced on him. Tactical Advantage ran his usual honest race as he always does and who knows he might be back here next year.’’
John Thompson was full of praise for Nash Rawiller’s cool ride on Sweet Deal. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett said “we are getting closer’’ to winning The Hunter.
“They have all run well and we will be back to try again next year,’’ Lovettt said.
“This race is going from strength to strength and it’s great to be a part of it again. It’s a race we would love to win.’’
Bullock said it felt like he was on the winner when Special Reward dashed clear in the straight.
“He gave me a really good kick and honestly there wouldn’t be too many horses that would get past him when he does that but the old saying, he was beaten by a better horse on the day,’’ Bullock said.
Godolphin’s Asiago charged home for third and could back up in the $1 million The Gong (1500m) at Kembla Grange next Saturday.
“I think The Gong is the ideal race for her, she is a mare in form and going up in trip,’’ jockey Kathy O’Hara said. “Today was probably a touch short of her best distance but they have come home fast in 33.3s and she has ripped home from the back.’’
AT THE TRACK
SUPERIUM OUT OF LUCK
The talk of many punters on Saturday was the ride by apprentice Louise Day on Superium at Newcastle. She had the well backed $3.80 near last in the run which wasn’t an issue for trainer Joe Pride. Day and Superium ran into all sorts of problems in the straight however and he had no hope in running ninth. “I said we’d be midfield or worse but not to panic if you were,” Pride said. “I didn’t mind being that far back because the horse has got a really good turn of foot but nothing happened for him and it was a hard watch.” Day said after a few outside her jumped better she had to make a quick decision to go back and get cover before all the problems unfolded. “I remember going for three or four runs and they were all dead ends. Runs were closing up as quickly as they were coming. I don’t feel that I had a run at any point,” Day said. “It was always my intention to get out rather than in. I had nowhere to send him.” “Do you have anything to say about the tactics, Mr. Pride?” Chief steward Marc Van Gestel said. “No luck,” he replied. Superium did pull up three out of five lame, not that punters would have cared much.
Strawb was one of many well-backed horses that flopped at Newcastle and jockey Koby Jennings said her behaviour in the barriers, which forced her to pass a vet exam, might have been the excuse. “Hopefully she pulls up with a sore leg so there was an excuse. She did kick the gates pretty hard,” he said. “I still rode her like she was unbeatable. There’s no reason I can come up with as to why she’s run so bad.” Her barrier issues made her permission to start a controversial one.
Jockey Koby Jennings said Strawb kicked the gates pretty hard at Newcastle. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
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Chief steward Marc Van Gestel asked Tim Clark if there were any excuses for $3.30 favourite Vadiyann’s flop first-up after the horse was fractious in the barriers and had to pass a vet exam to start. “Not really,” the jockey said. “It (barrier issue) possibly caused him to be a bit slow away but he hasn’t really ever been a good barrier horse. The pressure came a bit earlier. He’s one-paced so I was going to go early anyway but he didn’t put it all into his finishing efforts. He will take benefit from the run. He pulled up fine with his action.”
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Cafe Royal needs to improve her pre-race manners if she’s going to stack up in Saturday metropolitan company after running last at Newcastle. “I’ve got no excuse,’’ jockey Koby Jennings said. “She was a different horse today. She was a bit sour. She got a bit tense going into the gates which she hasn’t done for two preparations. She was just in a bit of a mood.”
The Hunter and next week’s The Gong have helped get Australia past the 50 mark when it comes to million-dollar races in the country. America only has 29 and there are only seven in the whole continent of Europe, proving this is the best place in the world to own a horse or train or ride one.
Jamie Kah helped three horses break droughts at Sandown on Saturday. Shamino hasn’t won in 223 days, it was 419 days between drinks for Carif and 909 days since Sound recorded a win.
Jamie Kah rode Sound to victory in the Zipping Classic. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
There’s no doubt that racing officials will hope Canterbury doesn’t become a leaders track where you have to be on the rail during the summer series of racing. It was like that last season and dished up some average viewing. It was getting like that on Friday night until Richard Freedman complained about it before his backmarker On The White Turf was about to jump in the sixth race … and it won from the rear. Freedman did also prove at Hawkesbury on Thursday that he can skull a beer pretty well.
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Clare Lever trained her first winner on Friday when Grace Bay saluted on Snake Gully Cup day at Gundagai. Well done. It was just her third starter and was ridden by husband Chad.
HORSES TO FOLLOW: Evalina (knocking on the door) Darleb (ready now), Northern Knight (luckless and ready to win)
ONES TO SACK: Perfect Radiance (not there yet), Vadiyann (have to see improvement first)
RIDE OF THE DAY: Tommy Berry on King’s Trust (did everything right)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was a hard watch,” said Joe Pride regarding Superium’s run.
TAB BETTING REVIEW
Despite getting out in the market late, Sliders delivered a winning start to the day for favourite backers when taking out the Sage Printing Max Lees Classic (900 metres). The Godolphin filly was $2.60 this morning and touched $2.50 before getting back out to $3 at the jump. Although drifting, she held just under half the money on the race. Pippa Charlotte ($4.40-$5-$4.80) had plenty of support as did Baby Wong ($5), however, their combined holds still didn’t match was TAB took on the winner.
BETS: Sliders $2,000 @ $3, $2,000 @ $2.90, $2,500 @ $2.50, Baby Wong $1,000 @ $5
Kings Trust landed some good bets in the TAB Highway Handicap (1300 metres). Going around as one of the more popular runners, Kings Trust ($7) hit the front midway down the running and held off the charging Northern Knight ($14-$9.50) which ran right up to the support for it. Monica’s Star ($7) wound up in third and actually held more money than anything else in the race. Of the rest, Lord Heron ($7.50-$5.50-$7) had strong support throughout the day but that dried up in the final 30 minutes while Cecilia ($6.50) had plenty of admirers and was favourite.
BETS: Kings Trust $4,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $7/$2.60, Lord Heron $1,500 e/w @ $7/$2.60, $1,000 @ $7
Laure Me In had his usual admirers and did the job once again, this time, proving too good in the Senpos Point Of Sale Benchmark 88 Handicap (1850 metres). The David Pfieffer-trained gelding hovered around the $8-$9 mark for most of the day and jumped an $8.50 chance. Jason Collett got the best out of Laure Me In to hold off Fortress Command ($4.20-$5), which had plenty of support but drifted, while Across Dubai ($41-$11) was specked at a big price and wound up third. The big disappointment was Vadiyann ($2.40-$3.30) which ran right up to the market reflection. Despite going around with nearly half the market, he blew significantly.
BETS: Laure Me In $3,500 x $1,000 e/w @ $8.50/$2.60, Opacity $1,000 @ $7, Vadiyaan $1,000 @ $3.10 MULTIPLE TIMES, Fortress Command $1,000 @ 45, $1,000 @ $4.80
The betting told the story for the running of the Guardian Safety Solutions 3YO & 4YO Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200 metres). Superium was one of the best backed runners all day in terms of money held, accounting for a tick over half the investment here, but Joe Pride’s runner was very soft late in betting and went from $2.90 out to $3.50. Deference ($11-$7.50) was one horse tried to knock off the favourite and was the second most popular horse, however, it held a fraction of what Superium did. Bring The Ransom ($12-$19-$16) had a late nibble while St Covet’s Spirit ($7.50-$10-$8.50) was popular along with each way players.
BETS: Superium $1,500 @ $3.50, $2,000 @ $3.40, $5,000 @ $3.30, Let It Pour $4,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $10/$3.20
The money was spot on in the Hungerford Hill Benchmark 78 Handicap (1600 metres). Super was heavily tried throughout the day and was the most notable mover, going $4.20 into as low as $3.20 before starting $3.80. Powering home late, the Mark Minervini runner beat the other significant mover in the market – Spirit Ridge ($5.50-$4.60-$5.50). The Mark Newnham runner was one of the first horses backed on Wednesday when $13 was offered! Prospectus ($6) actually went around with the most money and accounted for 31 per cent of the total investment.
BETS: Super $2,000 @ $3.80$2,000 @ $3.70, Prospectus $3,500 e/w @ $5.50/$2.10, Spirit Ridge $1,000 @ $5.50 MULTIPLE TIMES, Ulusaba $1,000 @ $11, $1,000 @ $10
The Elanora landed a nice move after proving best in the New Zealand Bloodstock NJC 3YO Spring Stakes (1600 metres). Chris Waller’s filly was $12 at the start of the day but was backed into $7 off very good support throughout the afternoon. In fact, it was the third most popular horse in terms of money taken behind Perfect Radiance and Ellsberg. Most of the money invested on the winner came on raceday whereas as the other two had been backed earlier in the week as well.
BETS: The Elanora $2,800 @ $13, $1,000 @ $11, $2,000 @ $7, $1,500 @ $7
Sweet Deal attracted a number of decent bets throughout the day and she did the right thing by her supporters when taking out The TAB Hunter (1300 metres). John Thompson’s mare went around as one of five horses to hold six figures with the TAB, however, she was the least favoured of those gallopers. Going around as an $11 chance, Sweet Deal finished best under Nash Rawiller to collar the leader Special Reward ($18-$12) which was nibbled at the each way odds. Ranier ($4.80-$6) had been well tried all week and that continued today, with the Godolphin horse holding more money than anything else. Trumbull ($5-$6.50) was next best backed while Signore Fox ($13-$10-$11) and Fiesta ($7) had plenty of admirers. In a race with plenty of betting moves, Chief Ironside’s stocks tumbled from as high as $23 to start $8.50 while Asiago ($10) hit $14 and bottomed out at $8. In terms of the hold, Ranier was nearly twice as popular as Trumbull.
BETS: Sweet Deal $2,500 x $1,000 e/w @ $10/$3.30, $1,000 @ $10, Signore Fox $4,500 x $1,500 e/w @ $11/$3.60, Trumbull $2,000 @ $6, $4,000 @ $5, Ranier $1,200 @ $6, $1,000 @ $6 MULTIPLE TIMES
Great News landed a great betting move when successful in the Bass Floor F&M Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400 metres). Although most of the money was riding on the favourite Strawb ($2.70), Great News was $7 in the morning and backed into $4.40 at the jump. Showing great fight under Brenton Avdulla, Great News outstayed Enchanted Heart ($4-$7) which was the second most popular horse in the race. The big disappointment from a betting perspective was Strawb which held more than half the total investment on the race. The Nathan Doyle mare was more than three times as popular as Enchanted Heart.
BETS: Great News $4,500 @ $4.40, Strawb $2,500 e/w @ $3.30/$1.55, $4,000 @ $2.80 TWICE, $2,500 @ $2.80, $2,000 @ $2.70 MULTIPLE TIMES, Enchanted Heart $2,000 @ $6.50, Willowheart $2,000 @ $14, $1,000 @ $14
Although popular with TAB customers, Through The Cracks actually got out late as TAB traders were prepared to take the galloper on in the final event on the program from Newcastle. The Angela Davies-trained runner was $3.60 in the morning which made it favourite, however, after reaching a peak of $4.60 actually jumped $4.20. He was easily the most popular runner in terms of money held and accounted for nearly 33 per cent of the market. Through The Cracks proved to be a terrible result for TAB. In fact, it was one of the worst results of the afternoon! Hilo ($5-$6.50) drifted too but attracted good money from punters thanks to the ‘Godolphin factor’. Asharani was a big firm late, $11-$8 in the final 10 minutes of betting. Of the others, Two Big Fari ($5-$3.80) stole favouritism from Through The Cracks and Chat ran right up to the support for it after it was backed from $11-$6
BETS: Through The Cracks $4,000 @ $4.20, $2,000 @ $3.50, Asharani $3,500 @ $11, $1,000 @ $11, $1,000 @ $10, $1,000 @ $8
Originally published asSweet success: Nash seals Deal in a flash
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