From the Commentary Box – Monday, 30 June 2014

I left Ruakaka racecourse last Saturday confident I had seen three very smart horses.

The Whangarei Racing Clubs’ meeting was playing a supporting role to the feature Jumps meeting at Hastings, but the horse quality was definitely at Ruakaka.

Mark down these names in your little black book: Copy Watch, Southern Icon and Ryan Mark. The three of them made an indelible mark with their performances on Saturday.

Copy Watch and Southern Icon fought out the finish of the feature two year old race of the day at Ruakaka. Both horses were seeking to maintain their unbeaten records after both scoring on debut at Ruakaka a few weeks earlier. Both horses had created favourable impressions with those debut wins but both had outside barrier draws to contend with in Saturday’s race. As it transpired, both Copy Watch and Southern Icon showed commendable early speed to settle handy to the leaders in the 1000m dash. Copy Watch, trained by Donna and Dean Logan, settled third just in behind the leaders while Southern Icon, trained by Alan Tait, trailed him.

Both horses issued their respective challenges at the 300m, Copy Watch nearer the inside rail with Southern Icon out in the centre of the track. At the finish line, Copy Watch held a half length advantage over Southern Icon. Third place getter Savannah Somoya was nearly two lengths away at the line. Co trainer Donna Logan was suitably impressed by Copy Watch’s victory. “I was concerned with his wide draw, but he had the speed to overcome it” said Logan.

Copy Watch gave a professional performance, clearly showing the benefit of his first start experience. “He got a little bit lost in his debut but he was switched on to it today” added Logan.

Also impressed with the win was successful rider Matt Cameron. As he unsaddled, Cameron told Logan Copy Watch “had the goods”. “He’s a good horse this fella ” said Cameron. Also impressed was Michael Coleman, rider of runner up Southern Icon.

Having his first ride on the horse, the vastly experienced Coleman was full of praise for his mount.  “They think a bit of the winner but don’t worry Southern Icon is no slouch either ” said Coleman.  Both horses look set to clash again at Ruakaka in a few weeks time.  Their return clash will be much anticipated.

The John Morrell trained Ryan Mark created a huge impression when winning over 1200m on Saturday.   Having just his third race day start and his first since last November, Ryan Mark scored brilliantly for Opie Bosson.  The official winning margin was five and a quarter lengths but if Bosson had so desired, it could have been a lot more.  “It’s been a while since I’ve sat on one that good” said Bosson on dismounting.

Bosson never gets carried away so that comment certainly pricked everyone’s attention.

For breeder owner and trainer Morrell, the win was very satisfying.  “He ran second on debut then won his second start at Matamata pretty impressively and we thought we had a smart horse” said Morrell.  “Unfortunately he needed an operation to remove a bone chip shortly after that win and that’s why he hasn’t raced since last November” said Morrell.   The manner of the win showed Ryan Mark to be over his issues and he looks to have a big race or two in him.

Finally, condolences to family and friends, of which there were many, of Joy Robinson.  The popular PA to leading trainer Roger James, was tragically killed in a freak accident last week. The car she was driving was struck by a loose horse which had managed to get out onto the road.

I had known Joy for many years and her cheerful disposition will be sadly missed.  To her husband Mac and their family and friends I extend our sympathies on behalf of the entire racing fraternity.

I’ll catch you next week.