Slice of history
By GREG WHITE
TRAINER Gordon Yorke and his grey streak from Coffs Harbour, Natural Destiny, created racing history on Saturday when they captured the Bernborough Handicap (LR) at Doomben.
The stallion has now done something wonder-horse Takeover Target found beyond him, taking Brisbane's 'triple crown' of racing following wins during December in the Doomben and Summer Stakes.
While each win has risen in sheer spectacle, this weekends victory was something else altogether, thanks to some inspired navigation from rider Shane Treweek.
Burdened with topweight of 58kg and starting from a wide barrier at his first test over the distance, the 38-year-old jockey turned in arguably the finest ride of his career.
Within 200 metres of the start Treweek had Natural Destiny one off the fence and parked in fifth position just off the pace, leaving a full tank of petrol in reserve.
Not that it was going to be needed.
As the field straightened, the jockey woke the little grey up from his slumber and together they spread-eagled the field.
"What a great ride from a champion jockey," riding manager Michael Flick remarked.
"Earlier in the day, Shane was feeling the enormous pressure of the occasion but a couple of hours before the race I saw him visibly start to relax.
"He went into 'the zone' and from that moment I knew he'd turn in a classic ride."
At his first ride back from a 10-day suspension, the heavyweight jockey made the 58 kilo weight by mere ounces.
"He rode in a saddle no bigger than that," Flick said, cupping his hands to demonstrate a shape no larger than a handkerchief.
"Shane's coming to ride for Gordon in Coffs at the TAB meeting next Sunday so the people should come out to see what a champion rider looks like."
He's had an undeniably great horse to deal with but Yorke's genius has been placing him to the best possible advantage.
From 13 starts, Natural Destiny has won 10 times for stake earnings heading toward the magical million dollar mark, astonishing for a horse whose best wins are still to come at Group One level.
Yorke also landed a stable double by producing Light Southerly to win the last race at Bowraville.
And to fly the Coffs flag even higher, trainer Brett Dodson completed a landmark day for the city producing first-up specialist Words of Magic at the Gold Coast to win the feature 'Bat out of Hell' sprint.
Ridden by Matt Bennett, the evergreen nine-year-old descended from the clouds to grab a photo finish decision.