Chix Pic on song in feature
Punters were treated to a massive afternoon of racing on Saturday at the Bunbury Turf Club, with punters lapping up the eight-race program.
All eyes were on the blue ribbon $100,000 Tabtouch 3YO Classic (1000m) feature race, with Chix Pic defeating Black Sabbath by a length.
After enjoying a comfortable run, Joseph Azzopardi took control at the top of the field, with the gelding confidently closing out the final 100m in style.
Delirium ensued post-race, with the all-female contingent of owners celebrating heartily with the silverware.
The opening race of the season was won by John Cunniffe’s four-year-old Together We Dream, who recorded a convincing victory by 3.3 lengths over a spirited Bel My Pago, who looked out of business at the tail of the field with 400m to go.
Emotions and reflection were timely following the running of the Rod Bynder 10 Year Memorial Handicap (1675m), given his lengthy commitment to the industry.
Bynder, who was the first indigenous trainer to record a group one victory in WA, was represented by members of his family, who proudly presided over the post-race presentation.
It therefore appeared fitting that Lindsey Smith’s five-year-old Salon Du Cheval claimed line honours ahead of Kia Ora Star considering Smith’s solid friendship with Bynder.
The closest finish across the day occurred during the closing stages of the Prince of Wales Hotel Handicap (2000m), with local trainer Justin Warwick’s Noir De Rue pipping David Harrison’s four-year-old Honorific in a grandstand finish.
Both runners were seemingly heading for a dead heat, before Lucy Warwick’s final surge on the former ensured Noir De Rue got the job done.
The feel-good story of the meeting was seven-year-old local mare Big Caroline, with the runner from the Giadresco stable charging home to claim the JCW Electrical Handicap.
Focus then shifted to whether one of the most impressive recent spells of racing could continue.
Having won five in a row leading into the In Memory of Brendan Ballantyne Handicap (1400m), Smith’s six-year-old Great Again appeared the hot favourite.
Heading into the final straight, it appeared Mitchell Pateman was on course to deliver just that – however the four-year-old on his heels had other ideas.
Patiently waiting for the moment to arrive, Achernar Star found a groove with Shaun McGruddy in the saddle, with the plucky four-year-old striding past Action and Great Again, who had to settle for third.
Despite the placing, Smith’s six-year-old has placed in nine of his 10 starts, with the only blemish a sixth at Pinjarra Park in January.
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