Double for birthday boy
By GREG WHITE
LEADING trainer Gordon Yorke won't be rushing onto the Cups trail with yesterday's Summer Harvest Open Handicap winner Cajun Steel.
Proving again you can win from back in the pack on the remodelled Coffs Harbour track, Cajun Steel was eight lengths last as the field cornered before storming home to grab Rodeo Chute Out on the line.
"I was pleased to see him out the back relaxed," Yorke admitted.
"He only races one way with a three furlong sprint and I reckon he can run the last bit in 21 (seconds)."
While the prizemoney on the Northern Rivers Cups circuit during late winter is attractive, Yorke is biding his time before showing his hand.
"The horse may have done enough at the moment," he said.
"I'll give him a freshen up and look at it in the couple of days."
The win was the second leg of a double for Yorke after Glen Colless made a triumphant homecoming, kicking home Pimpala Dane in the first.
Caught wide early, Colless said he wasn't worried about the necessity to circle the field.
"In the end I got into a nice spot and had a good run," he said.
"It was a top effort."
The champion rider, almost assured of another Brisbane jockey's premiership, also made it a double when he won on boom galloper Antron for old friend Brett Bellamy.
Colless bounced the former Victorian straight to the lead and was never headed.
"He's got amazing cruising speed," the jockey told Bellamy.
"You've got to keep waking him up to keep his mind on the job but he's good, all right."
In keeping with the pattern of leading lights cleaning up on the day's opening events, Allan Robinson extended his lead in the local rider's title and brought a smile to the face of trainer Ken Lantry after urging home Innocent News.
"Where's my birthday present?" the notorious joker enquired when course broadcaster Rod Fuller announced it was the anniversary of his entry into the world.
Unable to help himself and before dismounting the Mr. Innocent filly, Robbo turned his attention to club committeman Merv Mercer, wearing an usual style of head covering in the mounting yard.
"If you wear that hat you're not invited to the birthday party, boss, he said."
Robinson had extra reason to blow out the candles after booting home his second winner on Our Young Emperor in race six.
Meanwhile in the real world, Lantry was full of praise for the gutsy three-year-old who'd made up a dozen lengths on a tearaway leader, then defied all attempts to run her down.
"Yeah, they tried to run past her but couldn't get there," he said.
"Showed a ton of courage."
Coffs Harbour Racing Club break new ground on Easter Saturday with the meeting covered by the NSW TAB.
"We want this to be a big one so we will keep nominations open until 10am today," CEO Sherryn Tutt said.