Tuesday, April 2, 2019
While Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott, looking resplendent in his green tie, experienced little joy with his box six runner Big Casey in last Sunday’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup final it was a different story a couple of races later when Black Spring lined up in The Tankman 600.
Sponsored by Allen and Kim Cram, who run the Mount Gambier family-owned water tank cleaning business known as the Tankman, this is the second year that the middle-distance feature has been run on cup day, last year’s event being won by Connie Miller’s Chilly Kiss in a time of 35.49 seconds.
Occasionally you get lucky and that’s what happened as far as Abbott was concerned, Black Spring advertised in September last year as a giveaway prior to racing, the wily long-time trainer quick to stake his claim on the son of Spring Gun and Lektra Scarlett, a Victorian city-winning stayer.
Black Spring has now been around 37 times for eight wins which includes success over 600 metres at Tara Raceway and Angle Park as well as a 731 metre win at Angle Park.
And after a two length third several nights’ earlier in a Special Event 650 metre at Warrnambool it probably wasn’t surprising when he went to the boxes on Sunday as an odds-on favourite.
A notorious slow beginner, he jumped a little better from box three than is generally the case and actually had a couple of greyhounds behind him as the field headed into the home straight the first time around.
But he looked to have the field covered a long way from home and eventually ran out a four length Tankman 600 winner, also in 35.49 seconds, over early leader Bereluke and Giant Bale who finished the race off strongly.
In the following race, the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m), long-time Abbott kennel client John Dihm, a part-owner of Big Casey, was able to also enjoy cup day success when Bronte Jakit led all the way to defeat Bekim Instinct by 2¼ lengths in 30.24 seconds.
Melton trainer Simon Payne wrapped up a couple of good weeks at Tara Raceway when Molly Coaster finished in her customary strong fashion to defeat Nirimba Pirate by 2¾ lengths in the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup Consolation (512 m).
Payne had been over a fortnight prior for his first-ever look at Tara Raceway, Molly Coaster, with the cup in mind, impressing with a 29.70 seconds graded win.
A week later he returned for the heats, the daughter of Fabregas x Reiko Bale running third behind Pure White Evil and certain to return for the consolation after kennelmate Schultz’s A Rebel won a heat of the Formula 400 and litter brother Diesel’s A Rebel stormed home to run second and also qualify for the final.
Diesel’s A Rebel ultimately ran second in the final, beaten 2½ lengths by the Dean Fennell trained Whatta Knocka in 23.29 seconds – Chris Wright, who races Molly Coaster in partnership with Paul Giddings, in charge of the team after Payne was unable to make the trip due to family commitments.
Whatta Knocka, raced by Karen Price and Andrew and Peter Haines, was one of four runners Fennell had in the Formula 400 final, the son of Knocka Norris chasing Cryer’s Harper until the home before taking over and then holding out Diesel’s A Rebel.
The win was Fennell’s second Formula 400 success, Cerrone defeating litter brothers Cryer’s Fred and Cryer’s Ricky in the 2016 event in a time of 23.15 seconds.
At the corresponding meeting four years ago it was Whatta Knocka’s dam, Who’s Doing What, who had drawn box one in the Mount Gambier Cup final after running a flying 29.75 seconds in a heat the previous week.
It’s now history how Who’s Doing What was scratched after coming on season and how Lots Of Yap gained a run as a reserve and won the cup.