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   Past News Yea 25th and Balnarring 26th January 2014
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Yea & Balnarring Reports
by Brad Best

As the future of some our famous Aussie icons becomes increasingly uncertain, it is comforting to know that in our ever-changing landscape two things will always remain constant: our love of a long weekend and, of course, our passion for picnic racing. Over the Australia Day long weekend, these two mainstays of Australian life came together for a massive double-header at Yea and Balnarring.
On Saturday, Yea Racing Club hosted their final meeting for the season, kicking off the Australia Day long weekend in style. In perfect conditions, a large crowd attended with fashions on the field and sporting games for the kids keeping everyone entertained throughout the afternoon.

In the feature race of the day, The Rodwell’s Yea Cup, a capacity field of ten runners took to the track, each vying for their place in picnic racing history. In one of the most open Cups in recent memory, punters crowded the front lawn to cheer on their favourites, leaning over fences and fascinators as a wall of horses swept into the home straight. In the end, it was another landmark day for Rochelle Adams, the talented young apprentice, in just her first season of riding, steering eight-year-old gelding Mr O’Postrophe to an impressive three-and-a-quarter-length win. The Cup also marked the final race for Shiralee Maher, her fourth placing on Well Written closing the chapter on a distinguished career at the picnics in Victoria.

Mr O'Postrophe wins the 2014 Yea Cup

It was a massive boilover in the first with $2.50 outsider Cabouska, ridden by Matthew Brown, proving too strong for favourite Gungnir in a two-horse race. In race two, Michael Kent wore the Australia Day silks with pride, storming home down the outside of the track on top-weight Narbethong to give his father, trainer Michael, another win at the picnics. The winners kept coming down the outside of the track in the third with four-year-old gelding Cochin making it two wins in a row at Yea, pulling away in the straight for a two-and-three-quarter-length victory. The fourth went the way of Matthew Corbisiero on board Wilari. In a carbon copy of the previous race, Corbisiero took the four-year-old mare wide into the straight and pulled away, scoring by one-and-a-quarter lengths. It was a similar story in the last with He’s An Angel, ridden by Amber Comb, making it two from two at the picnics with a crushing three-and-a-quarter-length win in the 1600m event.

On Sunday, Balnarring Racing Club hosted their traditional Australia Day meeting in front of an enormous crowd at Emu Plains Reserve. Over the past decade, this meeting has not so much become a highlight on the picnic racing calendar, but a highlight on the Victorian sporting calendar. Thousands of spectators attended the event, filling the front lawn and lining the inside of the track; commandeering marquees and hundreds of shady spots in between.

In brilliant sunshine, a field of seven took to the track for the running of The Quilly Park Balnarring Cup. Heading into the straight, it was a battle in two with four-year-old gelding Bright Times, having lead for much of the race, unable to hold off $1.60 favourite Oceanographer. Ridden by picnic racing veteran “Razor” Ray Douglas, the striking grey was a popular winner among punters, taking out the time-honoured event by one-and-a-quarter lengths for trainer Tony Vasil.

It was also a great day for Adam Bodey, the legendary picnic jockey picking up a double in the final two races of the day.

Oceanographer wins the 2014 Balnarring Cup

In the fifth, Bodey took the reins of $2.80 favourite Innovate, driving the five-year-old gelding to the front before holding off a late challenge from Jive Music to score by three-quarters of a length. He notched up his double in the final race of the day, dominating the field on board Kernal, the five-year-old gelding, trained and part-owned by Bodey, winning easily by almost two lengths.
In earlier races, Dani Walker took out the first on board Bubba Lou, the four-year-old mare holding off Keltic Light in a tight photo finish. In the second, Clay Beasy flashed home late on I Boot, winning by three-quarters of a length to make it two from two at Balnarring this season. It was a similar tale in the third with Courtney Pace taking the lead on Go Warrior in the shadows of the post, pipping a plucky Rokeby in a photo finish.

Results for Yea and Balnarring. Visit the picture gallery for the days action at Yea and Balnarring.

And so ends another magnificent long weekend of racing. And there’s still plenty more to come! Next Saturday, picnic racing heads to Healesville for another fantastic day on the banks of the Watts River. See you there!




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