WILLOWIE CUP WIN FIRST FOR LITTLE STABLE

Cup wins for any stable or owner are a pinnacle success but winning your hometown cup for the first time provides a lifetime memory. That was the case at Ilfracombe on Saturday when Jarhead stormed home for victory in the 1400 metres Donaldson Family Willowie Cup Open Handicap to give local trainer Rodney Little his first hometown Cup win and part owner Gary Stoll his first ever cup win. Not so for apprentice jockey Emma Bell who won the Willowie Cup in 2017 on One Grey and on Saturday produced the perfect ride on Jarhead to swallow up the opposition in the last 100 metres and win running away by almost a length from Fairy Me Home and Van Winkel. Fittingly Jarhead’s win was a reward for loyal owners of the Little stable namely Shane Dowling, Gary Stoll and John Delahunty and when you consider Bell rides the majority of the stable’s runners the result had the feeling of a family affair. The race panned out perfectly for “cups queen Emma” who settled Jarhead in second last place and was able to watch the race unfold in front of her when apprentice Alisha Ross on Fairy Me Home circled the field 800 metres from home to put pressure on leaders Metson, Hazar and I Wanna Be A Jeep and the speed increased as the field hit the top of the straight with only 200 metres to run. Bell was able to track up behind the leading group without having to use too much petrol whilst the effort told on the leading group and when Fairy Me Home hit the front 100 metres from home Bell produced Jarhead for a final burst which saw them race to a convincing win. It was also the first career Cup win for Jarhead which has competed in Open company races since joining the Little stable in September 2020 and has regularly placed behind top gallopers Bollente and Sizzalating. Little is sure to set Jarhead for another “hometown” Cup win when the Muttaburra Cup is run in August the stable having been based there prior to the move to Ilfracombe. Success continued for Emma Bell when she combined with trainer Danielle O’Brien to win the 1200 metres Rayners Crane Hire Class B Handicap on consistent mare Spallina defeating Portabelle and Nitt Whitt. Bell has ridden Spallina in most of its starts for Danielle and in fact was on board when Spallina provided O’Brien with her first winner as a trainer at Tambo in May. After sitting on the speed throughout Bell was able to save Spallina for a final charge to the line to win by a half-length and the Epaulette mare is developing a good record having won two and placed second three times in its last five starts. On a day when leading Melbourne jockey Jamie Kah created history by becoming the first jockey to ride 100 winners in a season in metropolitan Victoria local female jockeys played their part by riding four of the seven winners on the day at Ilfracombe. Apart from Emma Bell’s double Alisha Ross and Brooke Richardson both scored wins on the day. Ross and Richardson fought out the finish of the 1400 metres George Bourne & Associates BM55 Handicap providing trainer Ray Hermann with a quinella result when Do I Have To (Ross) gained an inside run in the straight to outsprint Sizzlesun (Richardson) with Archade in third. Some 40 minutes before this race owner Clarrie Hermann had witnessed his star country gelding Bollente run an unlucky third in the Rockhampton Cup and with Do I Have To carrying the same colours it was a strong indication a victory was looming for the Real saga mare. Brooke Richardson had earlier combined with trainer David Rewald to win the Central West Rural & Moore Civil Plant Hire 1000 metres BM 60 Handicap on Granola State.The vastly improved gelding was having its first run since April and Richardson bided her time sitting behind the leaders until turning for home before unleashing a powerful finish to defeat Music Award by a half length with The Launcher and Zebonet close up less than a length from the winner. The finish was typical of the four 1000 metre races on the day where strong finishing bursts denied leaders hanging on for victory except in the case of Tan Dinh. Trained and ridden by David Rewald Tan Dinh was able to lead throughout to win the 1000 metres Ringrose Button Chartered Accountants, Pro Tyres Class 1 Handicap holding off the strong finish by Para Park with He’s A Wild One third. The Better Than Ready filly impressed Rewald with the strength of the win and it has now recorded two wins from only three starts for the stable. Both Kalmar and Won Capilano produced strong wins off wide runs in the other two 1000 metre races sustaining their runs through the line. In the Barcaldine Cleaning Services/O’Briens Garage/Ilfracombe Produce Maiden Plate Won Capilano backed up from a second at Stamford last week to go one better and defeat first starter Blade Man in a photo finish with Serratalli a close third. Jockey Tim Brummell continued his winning association with the Boy Forster stable by pushing forward mid-race so that by the turn Won Capilano even though three wide was full of running and under strong riding was able to snatch victory from Blade Man near the post. Similarly Jason Missen on the Patrick O’Toole trained Kalmar commenced a three wide move mid-race in the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners BM 60 Handicap so that by the turn the gelding was sharing the lead and was able to gain a winning advantage holding off Night In Paradise and Strawberry Blonde in the run to the line. Kalmar recorded its fifth win in 25 career runs and provided a welcome return to the winner’s circle for the O’Toole stable. In an historic day for the Club over 700 people turned out for the races to enjoy the seven- race program which was created by Racing Queensland adding an extra race and dividing the BM 60 race into two divisions thus compensating trainers and owners for the loss of recent meetings due to rain at Alpha and Barcaldine. Racing now heads to Blackall next weekend followed by Longreach and Tambo with all three meetings having an extra race added to the program by Racing Queensland. ROB LUCK Photo courtesy of RLR Photography

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