Blackboard Special makes winning return at Doomben to the relief of trainer Wayne Lawson
GRAFTON trainer Wayne Lawson was the most relieved man on course when Blackboard Special made a triumphant return in the 0MW.
“It’s unbelievable what we’ve been through with this horse,” Lawson said. “We’ve spent a fortune trying to find out what’s wrong and the worst thing is that every vet said they couldn’t find anything.
“So we’ve just had to be patient and tinker with his gear.
“I’ve worked on him for the past six months and it call came down to 60 seconds on the track. It’s a relief and he’s done a huge job to win.” Lawson feels Blackboard Special’s problems date right back to his first ever start, where he ran off the track when second at Grafton. The trainer said the horse got his tongue back and couldn’t breathe and he believes that instilled fear, which fuelled his habit of running off the track.
“The tongue control bit seems to have worked,” Lawson said.
Todd Howlett and Tim Bell were justified in their confidence for runaway Open winner Aghamore, who gave NSW trainers three winners on the card after Blackboard Special and Espiritu.
Bell was happy to bide his time finding the front and was then left along, allowing him to zip home in 33.37, giving his pursuers no hope. “I’m loyal to Caitlin (Lavin), but I told her ‘I can’t ride Pickabee today, I’m riding the winner.’ Todd was super confident about his chances,” Bell said.
After paying his dues with several near misses, Upstart Pride had his day in the sun when leading throughout at Doomben yesterday.
The Michael Nolan trained grey attracted a boom after winning at Eagle Farm on debut in slick time, but had come up just short in four subsequent city attempts, albeit never finishing worse than fourth.
Yesterday, Nolan was armed with a specific plan and jockey Ric McMahon obliged.
“We came here with the plan to do just one thing. Once he drew the outside, I decided I just wanted him to lead,” Nolan said.
“I told Ric not to worry about trying to get one off the fence, I just said ‘give him a dig and go to the front.’ “He did a lot of work last time and Ric said he might have been a bit keen in the blinkers, so today I was single-minded. I felt the step to 1200m meant it would be a slightly different tempo and he may get a breather in the middle stages and fortunately it’s all worked out perfectly.” Nolan admitted he had no idea what happened when Upstart Pride was beaten at $1.40 at Toowoomba two starts back, but the blinkers have worked in his past two outings.
Meanwhile, Grafton trainer Wayne Lawson was the most relieved man on course when Blackboard Special made a triumphant return in the 0MW. “It’s unbelievable what we’ve been through with this horse,” Lawson said. “We’ve spent a fortune trying to find out what’s wrong and the worst thing is that every vet said they couldn’t find anything.
Helen Page was surrounded by a big team of thrilled owners after Powerful Saga lowered the colours of odds-on favourite Tibrogargan Miss in the opening event.