by Brad Best
The curtain came down on another successful picnic racing season on Saturday with Healesville Amateur Racing Club playing host to a bumper crowd and capacity fields in five of the six races. Under a sparkling April sun (on loan for the weekend from our friends in Cuba), owners and trainers made the most of their final chance at picnic racing glory with a total of fifty-six horses taking to the track over the course of the afternoon.
There were jubilant scenes in the mounting yard early when Cavallo Reigns ridden by Tyson Buck stormed home to take out the first. The two-length victory saw Cavallo Reigns leapfrog King Can Sing to the top of the picnic horse premiership table and Paul Kramer do the same in the trainer’s premiership. Congratulations to all connections of this fantastically consistent performer.
In races two and four, Clay Beasy maintained his magnificent strike rate to notch up yet another winning double for the season. With Premier Denis Napthine watching on, Beasy steered the appropriately-named Bred By Ted to victory in race two; while in race four, he bagged his second of the day on board second-favourite High Regal.
In the feature race of the day – the Windsor Farm Healesville Cup – the Reg Manning trained Guadalcanal, ridden superbly by Courtney Pace from the outside barrier, held off a late challenge from the fast-finishing To Cry For to take out the time-honoured 1650m open trophy race.
Classy mare Fontainette, ridden by Dani Walker, continued her strong season with a dominant five-length victory in the third despite carrying four more kilograms than any other runner. And the day wouldn’t have been complete without a win to Adam Bodey who took out the last on board favourite Kernel.
In pristine conditions, the picnic racing community couldn’t have asked for a better end to the 2012/13 season. It was a season of remarkable performances, none more so than Adam Bodey who again dominated the jockey premiership, taking out the title for a staggering 13th consecutive year. The future of the sport looks equally impressive with Clay Beasy (at a winning strike rate of over 35%), Clayton Douglas, Stephanie Dorning and Dani Walker all continuing their rise towards the top of the tree.