Comical Lass brings plenty of smiles

Cambridge trainer Don Sellwood gave jockey Andrew Calder a taste of what he will be missing in the form of promising two-year-old Comical Lass.

Calder leaves tonight for a further three-month stint in Macau and says he could stay longer if success comes his way. But there is no doubt he will be keeping a close eye on the fortunes of Comical Lass, who made a winning debut in the Daghar — Brighthill’s New Stallion Juvenile at today’s Cambridge Jockey Club’s meeting at Te Rapa.

“She’s a nice athletic horse and could be a nice three-year-old,” said Calder. “I was a bit worried about the ground. I worked her at Cambridge the other day on a heavy track and she wasn’t comfortable, but as it turned out today’s track was loose and she got through it.”

Comical Lass scampered away over the final stages to score by two and three-quarter lengths from Ready Fortune, who had raceday experience and was the second favourite.

A daughter of Captain Rio, Comical Lass had been given two trials by Sellwood. She finished unplaced in the first one at Paeroa last January, but won when returning to the same track on May 25. That day she struck dead going and Sellwood shared Calder’s concern today about the Te Rapa Slow 9 rating.

“The track was a bit worry, but she seemed to get through it all right,” said Sellwood. “She’s shown a lot and I won’t do much with her now. I’ll keep her home in the warm and wait for the spring. Today’s race was a nice one and nice for education.”

Two races later fellow Cambridge trainer Gary Alton picked up the other two-year-old event, the victory going to Macka’s Back, who was at the remarkable odds of better than 7/1. Macka’s Back, an Australian-bred son of Danzero, had finished seventh on debut at Te Rapa last March, but had been unbeaten in two previous trials.

Today Macka’s Back, ridden by Jason Collett, did best to win the Cambridge — Te Awamutu Harness Racing Club Juvenile by a long head from Pacific Choice.

Shaune Ritchie, another Cambridge trainer, also struck gold at the Te Rapa meeting when winning with Dragonkeeper in the Cambridge Training Centre 1200. Dragonkeeper raced away to score by four lengths and take rider Lisa Allpress to 145 victories, two wins short of premiership leader Matt Cameron.