by Brad Best
In front of an estimated crowd of more than 4000 people, Healesville Amateur Racing Club put on a spectacular day’s entertainment on Saturday, setting the early benchmark for picnic race meeting of the year. With big fields in all six races, punters had plenty of work to do studying the form, but with four favourites saluting on the day, it was bookmakers who felt the sting, paying out winners well after the last race had been run.
In the first, Adam Bodey’s long-awaited return to the track got off to the best possible start with a win from his only ride of the day. Taking the reins of picnic debutant Brown Energy, Bodey was at his instinctive best, catching front-runner Tearaway Tommy in the straight with a perfectly-timed ride, winning by a head on the line.
Races two and three belonged to young gun Reece Goodwin, the talented jockey bringing up a double in consecutive races to sit outright second on the jockey’s premiership. After missing out on a ride in the first, Goodwin matched Bodey’s perfect start to the day with a carbon-copy ride on topweight Minou, guiding the eight-year-old mare to a narrow win in the second. Goodwin notched up his double in the following race, leading the field around the home bend on favourite Lou Lou Star before fighting out a grinding victory, winning by close to a length ahead of Tycoon Georgia.
In race four, Grant Seccombe flew home down the outside of the track on in-form Avon Country, recording an eye-catching half-length win over the luckless Southerly Grace and Kreuzberg. In the fifth, Courtney Pace ensured that Adam Bodey wouldn’t be eating into her lead in the jockey’s premiership any time soon, returning to the winner’s stall on six-year-old gelding Runs For Fun after a strong one-length win. Michael Kent rode the final winner of the day on four-year-old gelding Manwell, leading into the straight before fighting on doggedly to the finish line, winning by a head.
As the band played on, fielding requests from a throng of newly-acquired fans well after the last, the crowd of thousands ambled away from the racetrack, reluctant to return home after an amazing afternoon at the picnic races. There is no doubt that when it comes to delivering a perfect day out for the entire family, Healesville Amateur Racing Club continue to lead the way.
Next week, picnic racing returns to Woolamai for the Woolamai Racing Club’s first meeting of the year. It promises to be another exciting afternoon of picnic racing action. Remember to get your votes in early and join the party that’s sure to be a winner at the Woolamai racetrack!
Results for Healesville. Visit the picture gallery for the days action at Healesville.