Thundering Heart travelled all the way from Taree to complete an emotional victory in the Battlers Cup for trainer John McLachlan and those close to racing in Inverell. McLachlan was previously based at Inverell before moving his stable to Taree and was a close friend of the late Don Bartlett who died suddenly last year while President at Inverell and in whose honour the Bush Battlers Cup is named.
McLachlan qualified two horses for the race, with both Thundering Heart and Emvepee running second at Bundarra in September and then being aimed at Saturday’s race to support Inverell Jockey Club and the memory of his friend, it also helped that the feature race prizemoney in the winner’s cheque was the biggest banked in Thundering Heart’s 60 start career.
Thundering Heart was perfectly ridden by the Geoff Snowden taking the sit on the rails behind leader Clipaholic, hitting the lead half way down the straight and then holding off the promising finish of Todd Payne’s Semtex.
Semtex is only just out of Maiden class and having its fourth start for Payne after disappointing early in its career in Victoria. The strong finish over 1400 metres suggests the four year old by Smart Missile will be able to pay his way over the summer racing carnival.
Earlier in the day the other feature race, the Diggers Cup, was won by the only favourite to win at the meeting, Baroque Girl in a close finish from second favourite Exilia Miss. The sponsors of the Cup, the RSL Sub-Branch, supported the club in numbers with President Peter Morris presenting the perpetual trophy to trainer Peter Sinclair from Moree. Morris also demonstrated his leadership skills by winning the guests and sponsors tipping completion.
There were some mixed emotions after the win of Abb Roy in race two, the Peter Fox Memorial Maiden Plate. Many members of the Fox clan came to the races and enjoyed the day as a family reunion of sorts and remembrance for the first anniversary of Peter’s passing. Peter and before him, his father Clarrie, were supporters of racing at Inverell when racing was in its hay-day.
Inverell committeeman Kym Cheers had his first winner as an owner when Meteor Gal reversed some disappointing form to lead all the way to win the first event on the card the Laser Plumbing Maiden. Meteor Gal must have heard the stable whispers that she was running out of chances and faced a retirement rounding up cattle on frosty Glen Elgin mornings if she didn’t show more aptitude for the racing game.
Racing concluded with Silver Art, sired by boom stallion Snitzel, giving Peter Sinclair a winning double in the Picnic Race Club Cup with 250 race-goers in the Picnic Club marquee cheering in high spirits. Silver Art was first up from a spell and having its first start for Sinclair since changing stables.
The track was in immaculate condition despite the heavy rain during the week and was up graded to a Good 4 by the end of the day winning high praise from officials for new curator Darrin Byrnes.