It took until the feature race on Amelia Park – York Stakes day for punters to find their cheer, as we were met with another card full of surprises. With only two favourites saluting, finding a winner proved near impossible as a bevy of upsets plastered the winner’s lists. Promising apprentice Chantelle O’Grady continued her excellent form in the saddle with a riding double aboard August Knight for Adam Durrant in the opener, before leading all the way with Our Memory Girl for Brett Pope in the third. Despite the trainers sharing the spoils, a deserved mention must go to Steve Wolfe who extracted the ultimate revenge when Mr Utopia cruised to victory in the York Stakes – there wasn’t going to be any upheld protests spoiling the party this week.

PR1). Amelia Park Burgers HCP 3YO 1MW 1000m.

The money flooded in for the resuming Hey Bro ($3.40 – $3.10 fav), and when the public elect uncharacteristically led it seemed for a moment that the punters would start the day on top. But the 59kg impost took hold at the top of the straight as Hennessy Raider ($21.00) took control, before Chantelle O’Grady and August Knight ($6.50) shot through on the fence to hit the line hard for a half-length victory. Wanderlust ($21.00) ran on from fifth to claim third, just ahead of the luckless De Jersey ($21.00) in fourth.

WATCH: De Jersey came from last and failed to find a clear run until the final 50m – a big effort from a horse given little hope in the race.

PR2). Amelia Park Beef HCP 3YO BM64+ 1400m.

There was a big move for Temporise ($4.40 – $3.40 fav) prerace with premiership hoop William Pike electing to ride the Blackfriars gelding ahead of Young Knight ($4.60), but neither fancies would feature in the finish. Woken ($15.00) hit the ground running to lead from barrier seven, but the blistering tempo would only be sustained for so long. From the middle of the pack came Already Famous ($11.00) at the rate of knots to gather the leaders with ease before careering home for a well earn’t three quarter length win. Mr Balfire ($18.00) came from late to collect second, with a further quarter length to Young Knight in third.

WATCH: A race best forgotten, but Mr Balfire was gallant in defeat following consistent form at Bunbury – definitely one to watch.

PR3). Amelia Park Lamb HCP 2YO BM54+ 1000m.

We will remember this race for three reasons – the overwhelming push for the favourite, the only all the way victory for the day, and an amazing run from a horse unwanted in the market – and this trio would provide a handy trifecta but not in the order presumed. Molto Allegro ($2.30 – $1.90 fav) literally destroyed rivals in its latest outing, before scratching from the Karrakatta after drawing the river. But when the favoured hope failed to find the front it became apparent that it would have its work cut out as it negotiating an extra 4kgs. Our Memory Girl ($9.00) relished the class drop to storm to the lead early – and that was that – the favourite unable to pick up the notorious leader when going down a short neck. While we were all glued to the desperate finish, the run of the day was coming from the rear of the field, with second starter Major Factor unleashing late to get within a half-length.

WATCH: Boy Oh Boy!!! – How good was the run of Major Factor? – You won’t get $11.00 next start…

PR4). Amelia Park Sprint BM78+ 1200m.

The plunge of the day would have to go with the supporters of War Prince ($2.80 – $1.90 fav), but again punters would be denied in a blanket finish. War Prince led and seemed to have the race under control, but the resuming When We Were Kings ($5.50) collected the public elect inside the final furlong and looked the winner. But from nowhere came Dangerously ($26.00) down the outside of the track to nab the favoured pair on the line by a short half head. A masterful ride from Peter Knuckey giving trainer Graham Yuill a surprise victory.

WATCH: A brave run from When We Were Kings first up – this is a very good horse who will win races this time in.

PR5). $100,000 Listed Amelia Park-York Stakes 1600m.

Those who believe in karma were rewarded in the feature race of the day – and there weren’t many of us that missed the opportunity. The connections of Mr Utopia were left gutted following an upheld protest in the Grandstand Cup a fortnight prior, after producing the near impossible when beating raging favourite Amorino to the line. And although the judges’ decision looked the right one, no one likes seeing a race decided under such circumstances – but when Red Hot Sax ($4.60) and Bombora ($11.00) tore up the turf early in today’s event, the scene was set for a memorable act of revenge. Mr Utopia ($2.50 fav) sat behind Full Steam Ahead ($4.80) mid-field and tracked the second elect to perfection before presenting at the top of the turn to rocket home for a deserved three quarter length triumph – justice prevails…

WATCH: It was all about Mr Utopia, but the run of Full Steam Ahead was mighty and has to be respected.

PR6). Ryan’s Quality Meats BM66+ 1000m.

Punters didn’t know it at the time, but this race would be the last time they would smile for the day. When drifting favourite Regal Romp ($2.70 – $3.00) took a dream sit behind Steel Vine ($51.00) and Pure Adrenalin ($21.00) the writing was on the wall. Entering the straight the public elect kicked clear and had the race won a long way out, but it wasn’t before a game effort from Daintree Road ($12.00) who rallied late to get within a half-length. Madam Sass ($7.50) got the nod in a photo finish with Lord Balthazar ($21.00) for third.

WATCH: Another big run from Daintree Road giving the favourite 3kgs – a win doesn’t look too far away.

PR7). Amelia Park Wines HCP BM60+ 1800m.

A bittersweet result lay in store for Ascot trainer Nick Cox following the win of his Redoute’s Choice 5YO Blather ($9.00). Mantango ($14.00) and Prisoner of War ($8.00) took up the running, while Paul Harvey popped Blather into the box seat. As they entered the straight, Blather shot clear but had to withhold a strong finish from Magical Mist ($3.80 fav) before clinging into victory by a half-length. Second elect Venetian Prince ($5.50) looked set to provide another stirring finish before losing an iron at the top of the straight and fading out of contention. But joy quickly turned to despair for Cox, when Blather returned having bled for the second time in its career.

WATCH: A race of heartache also fell upon the Oz Racing camp – Venetian Prince looked set to storm home before disaster struck – one very honest horse deserved of another win.

PR8). Southern Habitat Wholesale Nursery BM66+ 2200m.

Another two horse affair on the tote would again end badly for punters as the “unlucky last” provided a massive collect for the bag-men. Both Go Tiger ($3.50 fav) and Dubai Escapade ($4.20) were well commissioned in the market prerace, but when the latter hit the wall as they straightened, the run came for Drive West ($14.00) who dived at the line to prevail by a short head. Brocky’s Deal ($8.00) did everything but win to finish second, a long neck ahead of Go Tiger who rounded out the minors.

WATCH: Not much stood out here, but to suggest that Go Tiger looks on-song to salute again soon.

PUNT POSTMORTEM

Oh dear!!! – figuring out that the card looked like a day for rough results is one thing – finding those elusive long-shots is another. We took a hit early before finding the $121.00 trifecta in the third, and collected when Mr Utopia did as expected in the York Stakes. Best bet Dubai Escapade was our worst result in the last, but the promising run from each-way hope Daintree Tree secured a nice place bet. The Verdict – a definite fail – back to the drawing board…

Chris Blackwell