Barhoon successful this week
August 12, Barhoon
A week ago, punters backed the Lane Johnson-trained trotting mare Barhoon from $16 into $3.50 at Globe Derby Park only to see her miss away at the start and come home last, 121 metres behind the winner Lovelorn.
On Saturday night, sent out at $7.50 in The Globe Bar & Gaming Trotters Handicap (2230m), Barhoon trotted away perfectly off her front mark and was able to lead throughout for reinsman Corey Johnson.
Despite plenty of pressure over the final 600 metres, the seven-year-old prevailed by a head from the fast-finishing Millys Magic ($5.50) with Lovelorn ($3.10), 3-1/2 metres away third.
Johnson, who trains at Penfield Gardens said the heavy support for Barhoon had not been his money.
“I learned a long time ago that backing squaregaiters was fraught with danger,” Johnson said.
“I just hope those who lost their money had something on her on Saturday.
In hindsight, maybe she was feeling too well and too keen to get racing.
“It was her first race since April, and perhaps the outing took the edge off her for Saturday.
“To be honest I thought we were all running for second behind Powderkeg but as it turned out maybe he just needed the run.
“Corey (Johnson) did a great job rating Barhoon in front, and it was crucial that he was able to get away with a 32 second, second quarter of the last 1600 metres.
“She pulled up well, but I think we will miss this Saturday and run her the following week.”
Johnson said he hoped to keep Barhoon going for the $40,000 SA Trotters Cup (2645m) on Saturday, October 28.
He also was looking for the mare to contest the Gramel Trotters Cup at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, September 23 and the Kadina Trotters Cup at Port Pirie on Saturday, October 7.
Fourth home was behind Barhoon was Lovelorn’s stablemate Powderkeg ($1.90 fav) which came off a 30-metre handicap and trotted well but ran out of puff late in his first race since February.
Milly’s Magic, driven by David Smith, came off 20 metres and continued her consistent form for Wasleys trainer Claire Goble, which has seen her in the money at six of her last seven starts, including three wins.
Wayne Hill, on Lovelorn, for trainer Jill Neilson, tried to put the pressure on Barhoon over the last lap, but he just couldn’t quite catch the winner.
Neilson would have been delighted with Powderkeg’s first run from a spell.
The six-year-old entire has a history of being “hard to get along with” but on Saturday was on his best behaviour.
Owner-breeder Geoff Easom said a spell at his Wyndown Stud and training at Neilson’s Penfield stables had seen Powderkeg improve his attitude to life.
“After going a bit crazy for a few days on his return from Victoria he calmed down and I didn’t even know he was there,” Easom said.
“And since he has gone to Jill’s he hasn’t been a problem.
“Hopefully it will transfer to his race manners and tonight was an excellent start.”
One horse with the $60,000 SA Pacing Cup (2645m) in his sights is the impressive Royal Speech.
Trainer Bronte Giorgio said the Cup was a long-term goal for the five-year-old which rounded up his rivals in the National Breast Cancer Foundation Pace (2230m) on Saturday.
Royal Speech ($4.20), driven by Michael Smith, sprinted fast from the 600-metre mark going clear turning for home and winning by nine metres from Premonition ($4) which ran on nicely late, with Harry Ovens ($4.60) a head away third.
Giorgio said the gelding was in great form.
“He sprinted strongly to win for David Smith on July 23, then his effort last week was full of merit,” the trainer said.
“He was three wide for the last lap and was clocked to run a quick 56 seconds for his last 800 metres.
“To finish third was a very good effort, and tonight, when there was a good tempo, he was going to be hard to hold out.
“There was talk of sending him to Queensland, but I believe he is a perfect horse to be set for the local features leading up to the SA Cup.
“I’m not sure he has the early speed you need up in Queensland, and that is why he is suited here where he can balance up early.
The Minor Derby Free-For-All at Globe Derby Park on September 23 and the Kadina Pacing Cup at Port Pirie on October 7 are qualifying races for the SA Cup.
“If he could pick up one of those to guarantee a start in the SA Cup would be ideal. I am sure he is up to the best open class pacers in South Australia.”
Photo Walter Bulyga