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Oakbank Races - Pictorial Report

1 April 2013

Day two of Oakbank and with the cooler weather it seems the crowd was a little more spread out than Saturday but again with an attendance of well over 40,000 it proved that the Oakbank is still a very popular Easter tradition.  The two fields of the main jumps races were smaller than in recent times but with a number of retirements of the carnival stalwarts in horses like Al Garhood, Sallum, Rude N Abrupt, Desert Master, etc and the early Easter this year were contributing factors.  Horses up and racing in March are also unlikely to have a preparation lasting until the Grand Nationals in July/August (ie over 6 months including  pretraining  most racehorses are generally spelled after a 4 or 5 month prep at most) but on the positive side it shouldn't be long before the younger horses become seasoned enough for the open class races.

In the first the Adam Internet/Johnson Country Cup Artful Terra led early from The Ruffian and Kingnadim but soon The Ruffian took over control.  The Ruffian skipped ahead of Kingnadim and Artful Terra then Tarvon followed by Keepher Close then Ocsmepop.  Along the back The Ruffian had come back to the field again with Artful Terra second and Tarvon third then Kingnadim and Ocsmepop.  Turning for home The Ruffian raced away again near the rail from Artful Terra with Kingnadim trying to make ground with Keepher Close out wider from Street Related.  In the run to the line it was all The Ruffian who won as he liked from Keepher Close who nosed out Artful Terra for second.  The Ruffian (by Lonhro) takes his record to 28 starts for 5 wins nad 9 placings and in winning claimed the first race for Victoria with Sheila Arnold of Geelong training the winner.

In the Coca Cola Hcp Zounite and Exalted William went out fast for the lead early followed by Impulse Buy and Mr Zoolander then Set on Stone and Happy Symbol.  By the 600m Zounite and Exalted William continued o dispute the lead from Impulse Buy then back to Set on Stone and Mr Zoolander.  By the 200m Zounite was in from but Impulse Buy was making a strong run with Exalted William battling on in between with a gap to the others.  In the run to the line Zounite fought back but Impulse Buy was too strong winning from Zounite with Mr Zoolander running on for third ahead of Exalted William.  From the Morphettville stable of Gordon Richards Impulse Buy was indeed purchased for $1,000 from the 2011 Adelaide Magic Millions sale and takes his record to 13 starts for 2 wins and 7 placings.

The Yalumba Classic Hurdle assembled a field of classy hurdlers with Gotta Take Care, Viva Delspec and Yamanaura all previous winners in jumps races while The Democrat had been placed in the Hurdle on Saturday.   Viva Delspec went to the early lead from Yamanaura and Mr Democrat with Gotta Take Care at the back.    Along the back of the course Viva Delspec went to a clear lead from Yamanaura with Gotta Take Care third and The Democrat at the back.  With the field giving an impressive jumping display little changed until they went along the back for the second time where Viva Delspec led Yamanaura while The Democrat went forward leaving Gotta Take Care in fourth spot in a packing field.   Over the jumps at the 800m Yamanaura went up to join Viva Delspec while Gotta Take Care started to make ground behind them followed by The Democrat.  Yamanaura hit the lead over the third last jumps but Gotta Take Care was immediately challenging as Viva Delspec dropped back.  Into the home straight Gotta Take Care kicked clear of Yamanaura as he flew over the second last with The Democrat joining Viva Delspec in the fight for third place.  Coming to the last fence Gotta Take Care lost concentration and went to jump then tried to put in a extra short stride (as can be seen in the series of photos below - it also show how the padding on the jump works to protect their legs) before dragging a leg over the jumps and nearly unseating jockey John Allan on landing.  Somehow his jockey stayed on and got balanced in time to hold off the late challenge from Yamanaura with Mr Democrat running on for third ahead of Viva Delspec.   Gotta Take Care took his record to 11 starts over the jumps for 5 wins and 4 placings and his overall record to 51 starts for 13 wins and 13 placings. 

In the RAA Onkaparinga Cup  Wotzitworth took over the lead from Hastein and Willego followed by Risk It All & Sky Raider.  Hastein soon took over the lead from Wotzitworth then Willego followed by Sky Raider and Risk It All with Groenenboom next followed by Tommy Two.   By the 600m hastein was soon challenged by Wotzitworth and Willego then Sky Raider with Stakhanovite and Risk it All followed by Tommy Two.  Around the turn Wotzitowrth led Willego with Risk It All going for a run near the rail and Stakhanovite wider with Tommy Two making a run around the field.  With 100m to go Wotzitworth and Willego were fighting it out from Risk It All but Tommy Two started to storm home down the outside.  Tommy Two came away to win from Willego with Wotzitworth third.  Tommy Two made it a second win for SA runners coming from the stable of Jim Smith at Morphettville and took his record to 20 starts for 5 wins.

The Great Eastern Steeplechase is steeped in tradition and has a rich history over its 136 year history.  This edition of the race saw VRC Grand National Steeplechase winner Man of Class from last year try to go one better than he did in the Von Doussa on Saturday where Lord of the Song was too speedy for him on the flat take on former Great Eastern winners in Tobouggie Nights (2012) and Petushki (2011) plus free striding grey SA runner Yesquire and former Great Eastern placegetter Big Jam (3rd 2012).  The final runner in the field was Banna Strand famous for deciding to take the hardest option possible and leap a massive boundary fence during the 2011 Grand Annual steeplechase at Warrnambool.  Banna Strand was injured early in 2012 with a number of stablemates when vandals chased them out of their paddocks onto roads and therefore he missed most of the jumps season last year.  However no such issues this year and Banna Strand is back to jumps racing.  To show the quality of the race every runner had won multiple jumps races prior to the race.  Yesquire headed out in his usual role as pacemaker from  Tobouggie Nights then Man of Class and Big Jam followed by Banna Strand and Petushki.  Heading up tothe fallen log Yesquire took a clear lead from Tobouggie Nights and Man of Class followed by Big Jam with Banna Strand and Petushki at the back.   Little changed to the straight on the first of three laps where Yesquire was in front of Man of Class and Tobouggie Nights then Big Jam ahead of Petushki and Banna Strand.   They stayed in a similar order until over the jump and into the home straight on the second lap where Yesquire put a bit of speed on and kicked clear of Man of Class with another gap to Big Jam then Tobouggie Nights with Banna Strand next and a gap to Petushki.  Down the straight Banna Strand strode to the front from Yesquire then Man of Class and Tobouggie Nights.   Banna Strand led to the third last where Yesquire outjumped him to take over again with Man of Class keeping close though wide followed by Big Jam then Tobouggie Nights.  Over the second last Yesquire led but Man of Class was making his move from Big Jam and Banna Strand.  Yesquire was still in front over the last but Man Of Class ranged up to take the lead on straightening wide on the track as Yesquire tried to fight back while Tobouggie Nights tried to chase.  In the run to the line Man of Class was too good winning from Tobouggie Nights with Big Jam a game third ahead of Yesquire then Banna Strand and Petushki as all horses in all jumps races proved competitive for the entire weekend all completing the course in all four races (and the two at the preview meeting a fortnight before).  Man of Class took his record to 13 starts over the jumps for 6 wins and 3 placings with his overall record 68 starts for 10 wins and 14 placings and is trained by C Maher and ridden by S Pateman.  Another unusual fact is that not only were both the jumps winners today carrying topweight but number 1 and 2 quinella occurred in both races in order.

In the Alma Young Members Hcp both Danish Spy and Our Mimi came wide down the straight but a decent bump between the pair saw Our Mimi who was second past the post protest successfully and being awarded the race from Danish Spy with Fillar Invictus third.  Our Mimi now makes it 4 wins from 10 starts and is from the Morphettville stable of Lloyd Kennewell making it 3 for SA and 3 for Victoria so far on the day.  The Thomas Foods International Hcp went to topweight Action Again from the Mt Gambier stable of M O'Leary from Raise a Heart and On Strike while the last race Neutrog Hcp was taken out by Big Luka from Michael Hickmott's Morphettville stable from Cornish Lad and Steely Resolve.

You may have noticed the sponsors names have been noted throughout this report.  It was mentioned to me that Oakbank sponsors have been receiving a fair bit of email traffic from the anti racing groups so if you use their product and/or have a chance please look up their website and thank them for their sponsorship of this time honoured event.   

Race 1 -Adam Internet/Johnson Country Cup
Race 2 - Coca Cola Hcp
Race 3 - Yalumba Classic Hurdle
Race 4 - RAA Onkaparinga Cup
Race 5 - Great Eastern Steeplechase
Race 6 - Alma Hotel Young Members Hcp

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