Tim Bell’s deeds recalled as Oink scores emotional win at Eagle Farm
PAUL Hammersley felt an extra lift in his quest to find clear running, hinting that talented three-year-old Oink may have had some divine intervention in his triumphant return to racing at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Tears flowed freely after Oink comfortably held out Ringo’s A Rockstar, with the gelding’s owner closely linked to former champion rider Tim Bell, who would have turned 24 on Saturday.
Bell’s father Grant and partner Heidi Whalley are among the owners of Oink, who wears colours with a distinct bell on the front.
Grant and his wife Keiley watched on emotionally as Oink returned to scale.
Hammersley was among Bell’s closest friends and felt he was in trouble at one stage in the straight before the gaps opened, allowing him to secure a winning passage.
“There’s been plenty of times where I reckon Tim’s been against me, but he was on my side today and fortunately the gaps opened up when we needed them to,” Hammersley said. “I’m a bit surprised how emotional I am actually. It didn’t really hit me until after the race.
“I was initially just excited to be getting back on the horse. I think he’s come back a lot better this time and he’s got a bright future. But I was reminded (on Friday) that it was Tim’s birthday today and obviously it’s very emotional for everybody.
“Since Timmy’s passing, I have become very close with his family and I am really grateful to the owners for sticking with me on this horse.”
Trainer Kelly Schweida suggested Bell “was in our corner” as Oink surged to the line. He was hopeful Oink’s class would carry him home yesterday, as he’s yet to be fully wound up this time in.
“He’s only about 85-90 per cent fit, so it’s been a tidy effort to win,” he said. “I didn’t think he was going to get out, so it’s been a good effort, because I thought that was a good quality race.”
Bookmakers gambled against Oink early, opening him at $6 before punters arrived to back him into $4.60, with Ringo’s A Rockstar an easing $3.50 favourite.
Red Hot Miss turns up the heat
TONY Sears could have chosen an easier starting point for Red Hot Miss, but the ability she showed the trainer at home in Toowoomba convinced him the filly was worthy of a Saturday city debut.
Sears was brimming with confidence, dulled only slightly by the huge boom on plonk debutante Trestrail. “I thought she was a pretty good thing, apart from the wrap they had on the filly of Matt Dunn’s,” Sears said. “She had three jumpouts at home and won them all. She’s not big, but she’s a good type.”
Red Hot Miss was bred and retained to race by Nicole Williams and pocketed nearly $80,000 for her win on Saturday.
Winning jockey Michael Cahill had to call on his experience to negate the riderless Princess Cavallo, who was causing havoc as she made her way through the field on the inside after dumping James Orman early in the race. Orman walked back to the mounting yard unscathed.
“Where we were, that horse could have put me through the fence, so I just had to let it go and that dictated the position I had to be in,” Cahill said. “Then she had to come around them in the straight, so it was a nice win. Tony is pretty astute and he expected her to race well, so it’s not really a surprise.”
Trainer Dunn was at a loss to explain the flop of Trestrail.
“She’s a much better horse than that,” he said. “She just didn’t turn up. I know she’s a good filly, so I’m not sure what went wrong. You hate to see them $2.40 to $1.70 and run like that. It was extremely disappointing.”
Dunn’s disappointment was eased, to an extent, in the following event when Quatronic ran up to his brilliant fresh form to lead his rivals a merry chase in the Class 6 1000m.
Jockey Jeff Lloyd told Dunn that Quatronic wanted to “stargaze” in the straight but still registered “a nice win”. “He’s very quick and is an athletic horse, but I just wish he could keep some condition on,” Dunn said. “I’ve only been able to keep him up for a couple of runs each prep because he lightens off.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Queensland Sunday Mail