The result of the Barcy Old Boys Open Handicap 1200m at Barcaldine races on Saturday showed that it was all systems go for Eschiele and Bollente to head to Brisbane for the final of the Country Cups Challenge 1650m to be run at Doomben on Saturday 5th December. Both gallopers were racing for the first time since their heat wins at Longreach on 26th September (Bollente) and Cloncurry on 9th October (Eschiele) as trainers Ray Hermann and Todd Austin plan their path to the final. The race lived up to punters expectations as favourite Eschiele ($2) was able to hold off the determined finish by Bollente ($2.60) to score by three quarters of a length with Boingo three lengths back in third.
Apprentice jockey, Alisa Ross claimed 2kg on Eschiele to give it the weight advantage over Bollente carrying 63.5kg versus 65.5kg. With no noted front runner in the race, Ross bounced Eschiele to the front and set a steady tempo whilst Bollente drifted to the tail of the field up to five lengths off the leader. From the 600m a bit more pace went into the race as Boingo race up to Eschiele with Bollente starting to move around the field from the back. Eschiele was able to sprint at the top of the straight and gained a two-length lead as Bollente started to work home wider on the track but still some four lengths off the lead. It was the winning move by Ross as even thought Bollente ate into the margin with a strong late finish, it was unable to peg back Eschiele. Both horses lost no admirers with their respective runs and will now probably have one more run before taking their place in the final.
Eschiele has a large team of owners including local, Lyle Balderson and it became a red letter day for Lyle as he was back in the winners circle in the following race, the Golden Oldies Gone But Not Forgotten Maiden Plate over 1300m when Red Red Rose which he is part owner of scored an exciting neck win over Ventures Benir with Lola Mae third. The cheering could be heard across the track as Lyle celebrated his first double as an owner with it also providing a race to race double for Todd Austin & Alisha Ross.
The feature event on the program, the Barcy Sparky Doug Gesch Memorial Benchmark 60 Handicap 1600m, also produced a thrilling finish with the Mark Oates trained Goldsay leading the whole race and fending off Rhyola and Pirelli with just over a half-length covering the three runners at the finish. The race was on in earnest from the jump as apprentice Tessa Townsend eagerly sought the lead on Goldsay and apprentice Dan McGillivray on Pirelli basically went head to head from the 1400m until the finish with Goldsay refusing to surrender the lead and only getting the better of Pirelli in the shadows of the post with Rhyola snatching second away from Pirelli in the final couple of strides. Goldsay has now won twice at 1600m both times on the grass track in the Outback.
The first two races on the program provided a winning return for the two Cairns based jockeys Scott Gittos and Nor Yadi who made the long trip to Barcaldine before travelling to Gladstone to ride at their Melbourne Cup meeting. Both produced polished rides with Scott Gittos leading all the way on Begin, trained by Kim McGovern to defeat Chilli Prawn by over four lengths with Floss’s Dream a distant third. The apprentice jockey made good use of Barrier 1 and Begin’s pace to quickly be in front before sprinting clear in the straight. In contrast, Nor Yadi produced a patient ride on Aquagem to win the The Goannas Are Coming QTIS Band 0-60 Handicap to grab victory over Night In Paradise and Babylon Express. The Patrick O’Toole trained Aquagem had not won at 1200m in four previous attempts and Nor Yadi allowed the mare to find her feet early before coming with a well-timed run in the final 200m to bring up win number four from twenty career starts.
While all eyes turn to Melbourne this Tuesday for The Cup, a twilight meeting takes place at Longreach – one of ten tracks racing in Queensland on the day and then racing heads to Isisford this Saturday for the rescheduled Ross Cup day.
Photo Courtesy of RLR Photography