Opener at Bunbury an Azzopardi party!
Joseph Azzopardi could not hold back his delight after he rode Ocean Jewel ($5) to victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Tabtouch-Bunbury 3YO Classic (1000m) in the opening meet of the Bunbury Turf Club season.
Despite sitting in eighth at the turn, the three-year-old took to the outside of the pack and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Epic Gray in a powerful final 100m.
Pre-race favourite Father Nick was never in contention and finished in eighth, while Cognac faltered on the straight despite sitting second at the turn.
Trainer Simon Miller said Ocean Jewell was a good horse with a strong future.
“She is a very valuable filly,” he said.
“I know how good she and I sort of do not get too far ahead of myself with it.
“There were some good horses in this race and you see her pick them up wide and working and she’s not even screwed down yet.”
Meanwhile, earlier in the day South West jockey Kate Witten began her home track campaign with an impressive win on Miki Two Toes in the $60,000 Hannagan Bassett Financial Services Handicap (1400m).
The $16 outsider had his doubters, but was strong down the straight and finished a length ahead of the Lou Luciani-trained Tonto and pre-race favourites Variation and Final Salute.
Witten said she hoped to get another ride on the Anne King-trained seven-year-old.
“He went really good,” she said.
“He travelled pretty well in the run. Coming into the top of the straight I knew he was home and hosed.
“Who would not want to keep riding him.
“He gets too much weight in these sorts of races, but that is good for me.”
Witten said it was pleasing to get a win on her home track so early in the season.
“I started it off very nicely,” she said.
“The middle of the track is probably the best part.”
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