Japanese hoops grab spotlight
MAGNIFICENT autumn weather and a perfect racing surface greeted punters as they poured into Allman Park at Saturday’s annual Warwick Picnic Race meeting.
The track has enjoyed a recess from racing and raced true with winners coming from both behind and on the pace.
The honours for the day went to Japanese riders Tats Fujinuma and Hirotaka Hamada who collectively won four of the five races. Apprentice rider Fujinuma won races one, two and four and in doing so created a buzz among patrons as it is unusual for riders to ride trebles on the highly-competitive country circuit.
Race one, the Peter Stewart Maiden 800m, was taken out by favourite Speed Matters, ridden by Fujinuma. In a deceptive finish, the early pacemaker Flametree looked home but could not withstand the final burst of Toowoomba-trained Speed Matters who claimed victory by a nose. The winner started at $2.50 but was welcomed by bookmakers as the runner-up was heavily backed and started at $7 in from a much longer quote. Lombard Street finished in third, 1.75 lengths away.
Lavendi, the winner of race two, the Freestone Group Maiden 1200m, was one of the best runs of the day as he finished powerfully to beat Choices and Shoulda Looked. Starting at $3.50, the Admiralty gelding was always in the market and landed some nice bets. Lavendi had a wide run but proved too classy in scoring by 2.75 lengths.
Local trainer Les Clarke scored points for the locals by training Fiction Star to a convincing win in Race 3, the Supa IGA Class B. The mare has had a few runs to strike form.
Ridden well by Hirotaka Hamada, Fiction Star beat Lugo by 2.75 lengths with Lunar Cycle a neck away in third.
The third leg of Flametree’s winning treble was in Race 4, the Freestone Fresh Lambs Class 5. Androuge, an attractive Sequalo gelding trained by Rochelle Pereira at Oakey, scored narrowly by a short half head over Johnny Aucash.
Starting favourite at $3, the win continued the horror run for bookmakers. Nattsukee was two lengths away in third place. Pereira is enjoying a growing following as an astute trainer and places her horses well.
Racing concluded with the running of the Warwick Daily News Class 3 Plate 1350m. Bonnie Thomson scored on favourite Danni Sharleen ($3.60) and in doing so continued the run of favourites. Thomson drove the Danzero mare clear in the last 50 metres and denied Fujinuma, riding Convictor, another win, falling by a short head. Dalby mare Valley Moon was 2.25 lengths away in third. The next meeting is June 19.