Snap decision pays off for hobby trainer
By GREG WHITE
MACLEAY Valley hobby trainer Vince Jones made a snap decision after Royal Air lost a race protest on his home track last Saturday.
Running out of grade in a class 2 1900-metre event, the gelding was narrowly beaten into third placing.
Three days later at Coffs Harbour and back in a 1600-metre maiden, Royal Air slipped under the guard of all but the sharpest eyes to spread-eagle the field in the opening event.
"I knew he would go close but the seven-length margin was totally unexpected," Jones offered.
"He wasn't supposed to come here but was unlucky and pulled up well after Saturday's run, so we thought he should get his chance.
"Could have been a winner when he raced here last month and he seems to like the track and as it isn't far, we brought him up."
Most form guides missed the Kempsey run and it was only after course broadcaster Damien Seaton made mention of the fact late support began to flow.
Winning jockey Scott Thurlow said he'd been left to plan his own tactics.
"He came up handy to the leader at the turn and when it was time to go, he took off," he said.
Meanwhile, top Brisbane rider Brad Stewart picked up travel expenses when the first of his multiple winners for the afternoon arrived in the second event.
Aboard Northern Tablelands mare Lava To Rock, Stewart had an armchair ride over the half mile scamper.
"She did some nice work today," winning Glen Innes trainer, Bruce O'Hara, said. "There could be some good wins down the track now she's won her maiden."
After showing speed over short courses at her last three runs in Moree, the Volcanic Prince mare covered the 800 metres in 48.55 seconds on yesterday's slow (6) track.