SA TROTS -Vet Surgeons Cup night review

It was something of a ‘Ladies night’ at Globe Derby Park on Saturday.

Apart from their own races, the SA Oaks and Ladyship Stakes, ‘the girls’ also took on and beat the males in the SA Trotters Derby and the Veterinary Surgeons Cup.

Fresh from her Trotters Oaks win, the Shaun Adams-trained-and-driven Bullion Girl proved too strong for the colts and geldings in the 2023 Toby Ryan Equine Veterinary Services SA Trotters Derby (2230m).

In the following race, the 2023 Veterinary Surgeons Cup, Honeybun, trained by Jill Neilson and Katie Wilson, and driven by Wayne Hill, was the only mare in the field of 10, but finished too strongly for her rivals to take out the feature.

Bullion Girl became the first of her sex to conqueror the males in the Derby, since 2012 when Topnotch Jewel, trained by Ryan McMillan and driven by Ricky Frearson was successful. She also is the first filly to complete the Oaks-Derby double in recent history.

It was an excellent drive by Adams to land the classic.

From gate one on the second row, he had Bullion Girl ($3.30) off the fence and into the running line one-out, one-back, on settling down with the help of Muscle Miss which galloped early when contesting the lead.

With a lap to go, Ryan Hryhorec on Aldebaran Stiles ($2.90 fav), which was trailing Bullion Girl, tried make Adams go but he sat in, and the favourite improved three wide, with All The Trix ($8.50) on his back.

Bullion Girl was trailing Avenel Eagle ($4) which was outside the leader, Hayoak ($19), another filly.

When Aldebaran Stiles sprinted coming off the back, Adams was able to ease out as All The Trix could not quite hold the back of the favourite.

In the home straight, Bullion Girl had the speed to haul in the leaders, take the lead and hold off the charging All The Trix to score by a half neck with Hayoak battling on strongly to finish third with Aldebaran Stiles a fading fourth.

Adams was in awe of his filly but also realistic.

“In races you always need a bit of luck, and everything went our way tonight,” Adams said.

“But she has done a fabulous job since we bought her and can now go to the paddock for a good break.

“I would like to think she would come back stronger next year, and we can see how far she can progress.”

Bullion Girl has won five races since being purchased from Chris Lang and picked up in excess of $25,000 in stakes.

Jill Neilson had resisted the urgings of co-trainer Katie Wilson to run improving Honeybun against the fast class SA pacers, until Saturday night’s 2023 Veterinary Surgeons Cup (2230m).

“Katie had said Honeybun was ready to tackle our best, but I was wary,” Neilson said.

“I finally gave in, and after the race Katie said her judgement was vindicated.”

A $4.80 chance, Honeybun was driven out hard from gate one by driver Wayne Hill, before allowing Artillery ($2.90 fav) to cross and lead.

“Harry Ovens came out quick from gate three to try and lead but I did not want to hand up to him,” Hill said.

“Then Artillery kept coming from out wide and I was happy to take the sit.”

Spy Major ($7), driven by Gina Bell, also came forward and was happy to sit parked and keep the pressure on the leader.

Artillery’s stablemate Culture King ($21), driven by trainer Paul Cavallaro made a run three wide from the bell.

Off the back and Spy Major was slowly getting the better of Artillery and holding Culture King, but it was Honeybun, dashing up the sprint lane that burst through to win by 2-1/2 metres from the gallant Spy Major with C7ulture King two metres away third.

Neilson conceded that Honeybun had taken a giant step up in the Cup.

“Being chase out I thought she might get a bit keen, but she settled beautifully,” Neilson said.

“Then, she still had the speed to outsprint them in the home straight.

“There is no doubt she is a mare that is getting better and better and now has to keep stepping up against the fast class pacers.”

There was a sense of satisfaction for part-owner-trainer Alan Cronin when Hezrockinroyalty took out the 2023 Prestige Equine Veterinary Services Lordship Stakes (1800m) for two-year-old colts and geldings.

Cronin said Our Royal Lady, the dam of Hezrockinroyalty, was a star which never got the chance to prove herself.

A winner of the 2017 Sapling Stakes at her first start leaving horses such as Bulletproof Boy to chase her home, the filly had to be retired after only three runs through injury.

On Saturday, the gelding ($2 fav) was taken to the front by driver Ryan Hryhorec and held on to beat Bay Jim Major ($2.90) by a head with the game Star Man ($4), 4-1/2 metres away third.

The first of Our Royal Lady’s foals is Royal Watch who had issues of his own to overcome before making a sensational winning debut at Globe Derby Park last Monday.

Cronin said the plan was for both Royal Watch and Hezrockinroyalty to contest their divisions of the Southern Cross beginning at the end of the month.

Perhaps it was fitting that the 2023 Naracoorte & Penola Veterinary Centres Sires Produce (2230m) for three-year-old colts & geldings was won by a South-East pacer.

Lethal Louie ($9), trained by Alyce Finnis, and driven her husband Jayson, finished strongly to score a half neck win from Lifeisbutadream ($26) with Cheerstolou ($1.40 fav), 2-1/2 metres away third.

The three-year-old now has won 10 races from 26 starts.


 Story: HRSA Media

Photo: Walter Bulyga