“Got you again Mum”


For the second weekend in succession it was a case of daughter defeating mother in the main race of the day in the north.

Sam Collett and her mother, Trudy Thornton, did battle in the $40,000 Ellerslie Jewellers & Engravers Cornwall Handicap at Ellerslie yesterday with victory going to the Collett-ridden Storming The Tower by a length and a quarter over Thornton’s mount, Celebrity Miss.

A week earlier Thornton had also been aboard Celebrity Miss and had to settle for second with her daughter nosing her out on veteran John Gray.

Thornton is pleased to see success go her daughter’s way, but being a truly competitive rider she is always all out to win herself when the pair compete and that was again the case yesterday, as it was a week earlier.

Video footage after the winning post in the Cornwall Handicap showed Thornton give her daughter an affectionate slap on the backside as they were pulling their mounts up. You could imagine Thornton smiling and thinking something similar to “you little b.., you’ve beaten me again. Don’t make a habit of it.”

Collett picked up the ride on the John Bell-trained Storming The Tower when Leith Innes was booked for rides in Brisbane. But with the rain causing the cancellation of the Eagle Farm meeting, Innes would have been watching the televised coverage of the Cornwall Handicap as Collett guided the talented stayer to his seventh win.

Having won the Gr. 3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup in his previous start, Storming The Tower was always going to be hard to beat in the Cornwall Handicap, even with his topweight of 60kg.

Collett rode Storming The Tower a treat, allowing him to bowl along at his own pace in front and putting the pressure on his rivals when he quickened, rather than settling off the pace and having to chase under his big weight.

“I told Sam when I legged her up to have him handy as I didn’t want him to be chasing with such a big weight, although I was a little surprised when she took him to the front,” said Bell. “She is a top rider and had watched his tapes so she knew what he was capable of and did a super job on him.”

Bell believes his charge has finally come of age with three wins in his last five starts, ending a winless drought that had stretched back to December 2012.

“He’s always been a handy galloper but he seems to have finally hit his straps in this campaign,” he said.

“He goes on most track conditions and I was feeling pretty confident when I heard the others saying they wanted a bit more rain. I knew he would like what was on offer.

Bell was delighted with the win, though disappointed that a race that was once one of the pinnacle winter staying events was now without black-type status.

“It’s a shame to see the Cornwall now just another open handicap when it used to be one of the biggest events on the winter calendar,” he said. “This was always a race that everybody who had a good winter stayer wanted to win so it would be nice if it could somehow get back to that status one day.”

Storming The Tower will now be set for the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) at Tauranga on June 25 and a possible rematch with some of his beaten rivals.

The Cornwall Handicap resulted in a trifecta for the Cambridge centre with Celebrity Miss showing she is on target for an overdue win with her game second, and Gesemi fighting on for third.