September 23 - Racing Roundup
The 2023 SA Sapling Stakes (1800m) at Globe Derby Park on Sunday will be keenly contested if last Saturday’s Globe Bar & Gaming Pace can be used as a guide.
The heavily backed favourite, Bay Jim Major ($2.10) won the 1800 metre two-year-old race last Saturday for trainer Les Harding, driven by Mark Norman.
Coming from gate one, the gelding was able to hold the inside, and once in front, Norman rated him perfectly.
Bay Jim Major won six metres from Star Man ($3.80) with Hezrockinroyalty ($9.50), two metres away third.
After a good first half of 61.7 seconds, Norman sprinted the winner home for a last half of 57.4 seconds which resulted in an impressive mile rate of 1:58.1.
In a boost for Allenby Lodge Stud at Kapunda, their stallion Major Secret sired both the winner and runner-up.
Stud master Stephen Norman bred Bay Jim Major and offered him for sale at the Adelaide Yearling Sale.
The horse was purchased by a trio with greyhound connections, Michael Ceravolo, Dr Greg Moore and Danielle Madalinski and they gave him to Globe Derby Park trainer Les Harding for a racing career.
“When he came to my stable he wasn’t that big,” Harding said, “But with time he has grown into himself and become a strong two-year-old.
“After he won on debut last month we took him to Mildura to try and pick up his Vicbred bonus, but he had to be happy with seconds.
“He is still very new and inexperienced, and I might wait until next year to go back as there are good features here in Adelaide culminating in the Southern Cross.”
Runner-up Star Man, having his first run since July went back from gate six but reinsman David Smith came three wide with a lap to go.
Star Man battled on very well but found the winner too good on the day but he will be back on Sunday seeking revenge.
So too will third placegetter Hezrockinroyalty which ran home strongly for trainer Alan Cronin, driven by Tiana McMahon.
Cronin was happy with the gelding’s run and said he would love to win the Sapling Stakes.
Hezrockinroyalty’s dam, Our Royal Lady, won the 2017 version of the event.
As expected, Hanging Fire booked his ticket to the $60,000 South Australian Pacing Cup on Saturday, October 28 with a comfortable win in the Minor Derby Free For All (2230m) on Saturday.
The winner of the Minor Derby was guaranteed a start in the SA Cup and from gate one, Hanging Fire was sent out a $1.15 favourite to claim the spot.
Trained by Greg Scholefield, and driven by Gaita Pullicino, the four-year-old had no trouble leading and was well rated to win.
Culture King ($41) trailed the leader and tried to make a race of it up the home straight, but the favourite won by a metre. Springfield Affair ($23) was nine metres away third.
Winning driver Gaita Pullicino said she had never been concerned.
“He went powerfully through the line and had plenty in the tank,” Pullicino said.
“He just keeps improving, Greg and Gail (Scholefield) are doing a great job.”
Scholefield also believes Hanging Fire is getting better.
“He is racing a lot more tractably,” the trainer said.
“Gaita drove him superbly tonight and I was sure he would find in the home straight.”
Scholefield related his Minor Derby experience.
“I gave Alan Smith as horse to train many years ago and went down to see him at the old Days Road track.
“He introduced me to his father Frank, who trained Minor Derby and I noticed on the sulky he was driving, the champ’s name.”
Globe Derby Park trainer Lui Trotta said he was pleased to have welcomed owner Barry Burke back into harness racing.
“Barry has some good horses many years with trainers such as Lance Justice and it is good to have him back in the winner’s stall,” Trotta said.
Whata Optimist finished best at Globe Derby Park to win the Prostate Cancer Awareness Pace (1800m) after a great drive by concession reinsperson Bernadette Page.
A $3 chance, Whata Optimist sprinted away to win by 7-1/2 metres from Above Average ($41) with Boss Major ($3.90), a short half head.
“I’m so pleased for Barry. He has got this horse and also Sheffield Peak, and now a few others.
“Whata Optimist cost just $3000 from the late Norm McCloy.
“He has run well every time and tonight had a great drive and got the money.”
Photo: Walter Bulyga