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Oakbank Races - Pictorial Report

6 April 2015

In complete contrast to Saturday the Monday forecast was dire with 12 degrees rain, wind and chance of hail forecast.  Understandably the crowd was very low for Oakbank standards but with so many areas for the public the official crowd figure was around 13,000 with most only coming out for the actual races before finding shelter again. 

The first race was run as yet another shower started and Idatwo ran very wide around the home turn but had too much in reserve despite finishing down the outside fence.  Idatwo defeated Arwa and Jesse n James.  Idatwo is by Captain Gerard from Desiring and takes his record to 4 starts for 2 wins and is trained by Trevor Dansie and Natasha Storr and was ridden by Simon Price.

Race 2 was the Country Cup and Allez Tara proved the victor in a two horse war down the straight defeating Puzzleman by a small margin with Gold Medals third.  Allez Tara is by Song of Tara from Fairy Rose and has now recorded 9 wins from 46 starts and 11 placings and is trained by John Croucher and ridden by Todd Pannell.

The Harry D Young Hurdle was next on the program and really brought out a varied group of spectators from everywhere to vantage points for the first feature of the day.  A lady near me asked where they started from despite the gates being just up the course (but enjoyed the spectacle so much that she recorded the memories on her phone camera) nor did another realise they did two laps of the course.  Always good to see new race patrons attending even with the dire weather forecast.  As the field jumped it was a line of three that moved to the front with Mateo, Beer Garden and Kiwi Supercharged ahead of King Triton then Singersongwriter, Above Average, Wai Not followed by Urban Explorer and Lordoftheparrots.  Once they settled into stride it was Mateo ahead of Beer Garden then Kiwi Supercharged and King Triton.  Above Average next with Singersongwriter with Urban Explorer next.  Around the turn on the first occasion Mateo led Beer Garden with Above Average, King Triton and Kiwi Supercharged making a line of three before a gap to Urban Explorer then SIngersongwriter and Wai Not.  Heading out onto the last lap and Mateo was in front from Beer Garden then Above Average then a gap to King Triton and Kiwi Supercharged followed by Urban Explorer.  Along the back Above Average took over the lead from Beer Garden then Wai Not and Singersongwriter who had made a fast move from King Triton and then Urban Explorer as Mateo started to tire.  Over the fourth last jump Beer Garden moved up to Above Average then Wai Not running on between then followed by Singersongerwriter with Urban Explorer out wider as Mateo was retired from the race soon to be joined by Kiwi Supercharged in the very wet track conditions.  Around the home turn Above Average and Beer Garden shared the lead with Wai Not making his run out wider from Urban Explorer who was taking a while to get balanced on the downhill turn.  Over the second last it was a line of four with Above Average drifting out from the rail as Urban Explorer ran on and joined them with Beer Garden and Wai Not out wider from Singerwongwriter.  Over the last Urban Explorer jumped to the front clearing it in magnificent fashion from Beer Garden who got in a little close to the hurdle with Wai Not still coming on the outside.  In a slogging finish in the wet conditions Urban Explorer was too strong to defeat Wai Not with Beer Garden third then Above Average and King Triton.  Urban Explorer has really taken to jumps racing in South Australia winning the SA Grand National Hurdle last year and now winning not only a trial over the steeplechase fences (where he defeated Von Doussa victor Thubiaan) but the feature hurdle race of the carnival.  By Zabeel from Amatista he has had 41 starts (12 over jumps) for 11 wins (6 over jumps) and 9 placings (4 over jumps) and was ridden by Steven Pateman for trainer Eric Musgrove.

The weather held for the next race the 3yo Hcp where Chu Chu Charlie was too good for Deanna Jean and Next Nelly.  Chu Chu Charlie is by Myboycharlie from Princess Phoebe and takes his record to 6 starts for 2 wins and 4 placings.  Trained by R Daniel he was ridden by Clare Lindop.

The Great Eastern Steeplechase was next and even the weather improved so that the sun came out for most of the race.  Walking up to the course was not so good with a group of local protestors inside the course near the home turn intimidating race patrons (some from interstate) that were heading to some of the amazing live hedge jumps.  They had dispersed by the time security arrived in the area.  Standing up at the second last jump gives a fantastic view of the course where its possible to see 4 of the 8 jumps on course and also the field streaming between jumps on the other side of the course.  In sunshine the field jumped for the three laps with Undergroundfighter going to the lead from Palemo and Eric the Viking then Nishiazabu then Seeking the Silver, Lord of the Song, Take Out and Red Eye Special then Tobouggie Nights followed by Isiah Riviera Star and Divi Filius.  Heading down to the home turn the first time Undergroundfighter led Palemo then Eric the Viking followed by Lord of the Song then Nishiazabu.  As they started the second lap Undergroundfighter was a clear leader from Eric the Viking then Palemo followed by Lord of the Song and Nishiazabu followed by Seeking the SIlver and Red Eye Special.  As they went to the turn for the second time Nishiazabu joined Undergroundfighter in front from Palemo and Eric the Viking with Lord of the Song on the rail then Isaiah and Seeking the Silver.  As they headed to the start of the final lap Eric the Viking took the lead from Undergroundfighter then Nishiazabu followed by Palemo with Lord of the Song on the inside with Isaiah out sider then Red Eye Special.   Heading up to the log Undergroundfighter took over control again from Eric the Viking then Nishiazabu  started to make ground followed by Palemo with Lord of the Song on the inside.  NIshiazabu joined Undergroundfighter  landing after the fallen log with Palemo next as Lord of the Song moved out to make a run from Seeking the Silver.  Heading to the second last Nishiazabu was a clear leader from Palemo with Lord of the Song running on from Seeking the Silver then Red Eye Special.  On landing Lord of the Song dashed to the from from Nishiazabu then Palemo and Seeking the Silver with a gap to the others as three were retired from the event after starting to tire in the wet conditions.  Lord of the Song flew over the last fence and raced clear from Palemo and Nishiazabu with Seeking the Silver wider.  Down the straight Lord of the Song kept well ahead of the opposition to make it the first horse since LIght Hand in the mid 90s to win two Great Eastern Steeplechases in a row with Palemo narrowly holding off Nishiazabu and Seeking the Silver for second with Take Out 5th Riviera Star finishing 6th.

Lord of the Song has excelled in South Australian races and actually broke his maiden on the flat at Clare in early 2010.  He actually won 4 of 6 Hurdle races at Morphettville in 2012 and was second in the Grand National Hurdle to Dubhdara (who took out the feature Hurdle at Oakbank last year) and third at the other start.  In 2013 he won the Von Doussa Steeplechase and the Great Eastern Steeplechase last year after being 5th in teh Von Doussa.  Lord of the Song was second on Saturday in the Von Doussa and backed up two days later for his second Great Eastern. 

Also sired by Song of Tara he is from Deep TIme and is trained by Patrick Payne and ridden by Steven Pateman.  He has had 21 starts over the jumps for 8 wins and 9 placings.  Without South Australian jumps racing this horse would not be the champion that he has become with only his maiden jumps win being in Victoria as he has been aimed at the major jumps races in SA and proved very well suited.

The next race was run in the pouring rain and win that had hit the racecourse with Raise a Dream successful from Clear Direction and Molly the Snip.  Raise a Dream is by Falvelon and from Raise a Vain and took her record to 36 starts 9 wins and 6 placings.  Trained by Grant Young she was ridden by Jason Holder.

As the carnival wound down for another year Heart of a Lion and Unspun won the final two races.  Hopefully the vocal minority will be put in their place and there will be another major jumps carnival next year when Oakbank is due to celebrate its 140th Anniversary so race patrons can flock to the hills to again see the best jumps horses around in Australia and New Zealand.  Sure many of the large crowd may never see a race but if you took the Melbourne Cup away from Melbourne Cup day and just had a regular race meeting those crowds would not be attend that race meeting and  Oakbank is exactly the same.               

Race 1 - Melba's Chocolates 3yo Hcp
Race 2 - Neutrog/Johnston Country Cup
Race 3 Somerled Harry D Young Hurdle
Race 4 - Coca Cola 3yo Hcp
Race 5 - Thomas Foods International Great Eastern Steeplechase
Race 6 - Triple M Fillies and Mares Hcp

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