“Ask and you shall receive” – words usually alien to the brave punter, however every now and then it all comes together, and today’s final race at Belmont aptly defined such a revelation.
It had been a mixed day of fortune for the first day of winter at Belmont, with only two favourites saluting in their respective races, but it would culminate in a massive betting plunge that would leave bookies agog and punters rejoicing.
Earlier on the card, Dark Miss ($3.70 fav) had stormed home from sixth on the turn to capture the Celebrate WA Day HCP 1400m by a short head, while Monumental ($2.60 fav) did much the same in The Pinnacles HCP 2200m finishing fast from seventh at the 400m to fall in by a head – two unconvincing heart stoppers insisting that punters would have to earn their eventual rewards. Second elects Testamezzo ($3.50) – the brilliant two length winner of the Margaret River Wine Region Sprint 1000m, and Baleen In Me ($3.40) – victor in The Swan River Sprint 1000m, managed to find the purse of most, but a series of upsets were in store to quickly level the punting playing field.
Secret Ruler ($6.00) led all the way in the Rottnest Island HCP 1200m to cling on by a neck, before Ten Aces ($51.00) surprised all in winning the WA Day Plate 1300m by a short head after being handy throughout. By the time Kerrific ($10.00) produced the unthinkable in winning the Group 3 Belmont Sprint 1400m from barrier sixteen, punters had almost unveiled the white flag – but they had one card left up their collective sleeves and they were about to play it with force.
Tipsters alike were unable to find an opponent capable of beating Galaxy Prince ($2.40 fav) in the Kings Park & Botanic Garden HCP 1600m. Thrashed into early favouritism, the More Than Ready 4yo went into the red quickly, before something strange happened – in the minutes before the jump it started to drift at an alarming rate, as we all clamored to see where the late money was heading. Ask Me Nicely ($6.50 – $4.40) had been smashed, and despite carrying 59.5kgs and drawing barrier eleven, the word was well and truly out as punters threw everything they had (left) at the Ustinov 6yo. Sitting comfortably in third throughout, hoop Steven Parnham shot Ask Me Nicely past the pace makers entering the straight and made all haste for home – outlasting the fast finishing pair of Traded Halo ($6.00) and Galaxy Prince by ¾ length.
“He who laughs last, laughs loudest” – maybe so, but with little impact, as the day’s mixed results ensured another nil-all draw between the bookie and the punter.
The Hoops / Trainers
Trainers Grant Williams and Fred Kersley both prepared two winners on the day, while Daniel Staeck piloted a double. Interestingly, the three Parnham brothers (Steven, Brad and Chris) all had a win each in the saddle.
Blackie commenced well throwing out Testamezzo ($3.50) in the opener, before his each way of the day Baleen in Me ($3.40) saluted in the third. It all went south from there however – Blackie learning a valuable lesson that there is no such thing as “free money” when Uncle George ($10.00 – $4.80) put in a shocker, and had to settle for third with Lethal Jones ($8.00), Ranger ($3.00 fav), and Galaxy Prince ($2.40).
On the east coast, Shane had his “wellingtons” on again, with Sandown being abandoned and Rosehill and Eagle Farm racing on the dead to slow going. Shane did find the winner in the big one at Eagle Farm – the Group 1 Queensland Oaks 2400m – when Gondokoro ($4.40) smashed rivals to claim the feature.
The Black Book
Both Even Astar and Galaxy Prince stay under notice following their fast finishing thirds in their respective races, while Moonlight Bay finished better than any from well back in the Belmont Sprint when 2 ¼ lengths fourth.