Good batsmen can drive forward off the back foot and so can good horses.

Ihtsahymn (Steven Parnham) proved that statement correct, being on the back feet at barrier rise and settling down in last place of the Westspeed Nursey Handicap (1600m).

Unruffled, Parnham sent him up along the fence and by mid race he was travelling comfortably in sixth position.

Any doubts about him being ‘held up in traffic’ were quickly dispelled on the home turn when a gap appeared that would have let a front end loader go through-and Parnham does not need that much space.

In the run to the line the others didn’t have a prayer and Ihtsahymn simply strolled to the line to score by three lengths over Spin Da Wheels and Mountain Haze.

Trainer Fred Kersley confirmed his talented two year old charge would now head for the paddock for a rest with the summer carnival in mind.

“I had no concerns with him running out the mile today and he got a great run on the corner,” Kersley said.

In the second race Smoko was even more relaxed than an office worker on a smoke break.

Jumping from barrier eight in the 1000m sprint the talented three year old took the lead and extended the lead to almost five lengths on the line from War Prince and Amber’s hero.

Having demolished the opposition by a similar margin in his first race start, on May 29, Smoko started a short priced $1.20 favourite.

Trainer Ross Price paid $75,000 for the Snitzel youngster at the Melbourne Sales  a couple of years ago and said he was a relaxed galloper that was still learning.

“We will take it race by race and he may have another start before being turned out but that is not definite,” Price said.


In the Michael Gangemi 90th Birthday Handicap (2200m), another veteran, the ever consistent Cyber Crime (Pat Carbery), found the post in first position from Operational and Lethal Jones.

Cyber Crime doesn’t know how to run a bad race and although he had attitude problems when he arrived from NSW he has increased his prize money from $30,000 to just over $200,000.

“He has over-raced on occasions but he is now learning to settle and we tossed up whether to lead with him today,” trainer Alan Mathews said.

Instead Carbery had him snookered perfectly in third position until the business end of the race when he surged forward to lead before holding the run of Operational.

Mathews also said he had a few feet problems and was going through new shoes every week at one stage. “He also had problems doing heavy sand work,” the trainer said.

Cyber Crime now has five wins, 11 seconds and three thirds from his  35 starts.

Chris Parnham continues to loom as a threat to Ben Paterson for leading metropolitan apprenticeship honours.

With his win on Ten Aces Parnham moved to 20.5 wins some 4.5 behind Paterson.

However in the feature race, the WAROA-Belmont Guineas (1600m), Paterson won on the Adam Durrant trained Summah’s Touch to end the day with a 5.5 buffer.

It was Paterson’s first feature race victory. It won’t be his last.

Senior jockey Shaun O’Donnell completed a double at the fixture with well timed runs on Classique Ivory and Classitheatre, trained by Gino Poletti and Stephen Rowe, respectively.

O’Donnell also completed a mid week double last Wednesday with Twilight Hero and Mr Utopia.

From Luckygray to Lucky Jay

I had to look hard –for a moment I thought it was Luckygray making a comeback. But no, the blond tuffs told me it was young journo Jay Rooney appearing as a pale grey.

Jay was the TVH Sartorial Stakes (Group1) winner, matching his pale grey sui t and tie with a new blue and white shirt, thus completing the Luckygray colour theme.

Bill Bovington and myself engaged in a great battle of the vee-neck jumpers, displaying our orbs to advantage. Bogweed favoured a deep purple with a purple and white striped shirt. I think Sheb Woolley got inspiration from him when he recorded his 1958 smash hit, Purple People Eater.

I favoured a mint green jumper with a lime shirt and tie. That started Macca going. “Hullo we’ve got Kermit the Frog with us,” was his remark before he sallied forth to the Eagles Nest (the VRC chief steward, Terry Bailey, is not the only one to suffer verbal slings but some of us suffer in silence).

I think Macca lies awake at nights dreaming of quips to describe my sartorial splendour. He certainly knows all about mint as he has swanned around Mint Julep country, being in ’Ol Kentuck, in May, for the Kentucky Derby, won by Orb.

Anyway the bearer of the Golden Tonsils issued a late challenge, to Jay, by donning his pale grey suit jacket, complete with WAROA tie, however the bird had already flown. 
Lucky Jay had the break, Macca dived late but missed.