From The Commentary Box – Monday, 28 April 2014

A wonderfully successful day.

That was the general reaction after last Saturday’s Cambridge Jockey Club meeting at Te Rapa.

The CJC’s Premier race day of the year had all the ingredients vital to a successful meeting.

Great fields carded for the nine race programme, a large crowd in attendance and good weather combined to ensure an increase in both on and off course betting figures.

“We are delighted with the result of the day” said CEO Gayle Barkla. “The support we received was again much appreciated and there was some great racing to enjoy too” said Barkla.

The two feature races the $100,000 Group Two Travis Stakes and $70,000 Group Three CJC Breeders Stakes were both won by relative outsiders.

Te Rapa trainer John Morell had triple cause to celebrate the win of his mare Lauren Tate after she floored punters when winning the Travis Stakes at odds of 46 to 1.

Morell not only trains Lauren Tate but he bred and owns her as well. “This is a great thrill especially to win here at Te Rapa” said Morell.

Morell has built an enviable strike rate with his team of horses over the years and has used the Te Rapa track from his Taupiri base. “I have to organise to work the horses around milking the cows but with the help of my son in law Mark Phillips we manage it ok” said Morell.

Lauren Tate was overlooked by punters even allowing for her recent good form. “I think that was a reflection of the calibre of the opposition more than anything” said Morell.

“Her work leading into the race was good and I was confident she’d go a big race” he added. Ridden by Michael Coleman, Lauren Tate was always handy to the leaders before challenging at the 250m. “She put herself in the race and I was pretty confident of winning on the home turn” said Coleman.

Lauren Tate scored by a neck from Otaki visitor Gwynethanne and pacemaker Skysoblue. Race favourite Soriano ran on late to finish fourth without threatening the first three placegetters.

There were a couple of unlucky runners in the race. Both Abidewithme and Etoile Filante didn’t have much luck in the running.

The other feature race, the CJC Breeders Stakes also went to an outsider. Shezhardtocatch, trained by Bruce Wallace, caught punters napping when winning at odds of 21 to 1.

With in form jockey Craig Grylls aboard, Shezhardtocatch burst through late along the rails to down the game pacemaker Simbaah.

Race favourite Ruud Awakening wasn’t far away in third place.

A stakes winner earlier this season Shezhardtocatch enjoyed a nice run in the trail from a handy barrier draw.

“I was told to utilize the draw and we got a lovely run in behind the leaders” said Grylls after.

Grylls was also celebrating a career milestone. “That’s my 500th winner and its nice to get it in a Group Three race” said Grylls. “She’s not very big but boy she’s got a big ticker” he added.

From a local Cambridge perspective, there were three winners on the day. Chris Wood trained two year old Alter Ego maintained his unbeaten record when scoring over 1200m. The son of Bachelor Duke had also scored on debut at Counties two weeks earlier. He looks a promising type for the Oaks Stud.

Popeye Braggins was again impressive when winning for Tony Pike over 1400m. With Noel Harris aboard, Popeye Braggins charged home through the field to demoralise his opposition. He looks set for more wins.

And the Roger James trained pair, Delago’s Secret and Full Count provided the quinella in The Clubhouse Sports Bar Premier.

Completing a locally trained trifecta was Orion. Delago’s Secret and Full Count may head to Brisbane for the winter.

I’ll catch you next week.