2017 Port Macquarie Cup carnival wraps up as Red Braids impresses

The curtain came down on a highly successful Port Macquarie Cup carnival with Red Braids scoring an impressive victory in the Steeline Race Day highlight.

Expertly ridden by impressive young apprentice, Cejay Graham, the Paul Perry trained filly made it three wins from seven appearances as she held off the fast finishing burst of Pindara in the Class 3 event.

The win completed a riding double for Cejay, who shared riding honours with Ben Looker on the program conducted on a soft surface.

The winning spoils in the trainer’s department was shared by Kris Lees and Ben Smith with doubles and the placement of the cutaway rail on the home turn presented advantage to horses making ground towards the outside.

A feature of the program was the appearance of former overseas stayer, Wallangarra for the Lees stable and the outstanding win could well indicate a sign of greater achievements to follow.

A good crown backed up after the Cup program and the club would like to make special mention of Steeline North Coast for their continued support.

Race 1:           Steeline Services Over And Above 4YO-&-UP Maiden Hcp       1010m

The John Sprague trained mare, Unique Miss was sent out the well supported favourite and was challenging the early pacemakers Fine Behind and Robyn Lucy as the field approached the home bend.

Upon straightening, the runners fanned wide with Doctor Zed and Golly Miss Solly finishing fast down the extreme outside portion of the straight.

After a short battle, Doctor Zed was able to score for trainer Morgan Butler thanks to an expert ride by Ray Spokes over the debutant, Golly Miss Solly and Fine Behind.

The run of Golly Miss Solly was full of merit and will derive great benefit from the first up outing while Unique Miss had a tough run and yielded ground over the concluding stages.

Race 2:           Steeline Warehouse Workers 3YO Maiden Plate                          1010m

An impressive second at the track recently behind Classy Anna ensured Tootz would start favourite and punters who took the short odds were rewarded when the Zizou filly came with a sweeping run to score.

Let’s Geton With It and Dordogne were contesting the early lead with Secret Lago chiming in three wide as the horses approached the turn.

Ben Looker made his move aboard Tootz to circumnavigate the field and finish down the outside fence over Progression, who tried to trail the ultimate winner along.

The debut performance by Progression was sound and Kris Lees should have received great encouragement by the All To Hard filly, who is part owned by the connections of Black Caviar.    

Race 3:           Steeline Front Office Girls Maiden Plate                                       1512m

Another win for Cejay Graham and John Sprague as Field Helmet was able the arrest the early lead from If By Chance and survive the fast finishing run of Mister Rossa.

The early move was significant as Graham was allowed to dictate terms to suit herself on the Helmet gelding and set up an unassailable lead.

Mister Rossa’s second career start was an improved effort and the favourite, So You Merge came from a long way behind the pacemakers without being suited by the pattern of racing.

Race 4:           Steeline Staff Country Class 1 Plate                                              1812m

There was plenty of interest in the imported galloper, Wallangarra from the Kris Lees stable and the Theofilo gelding with the overseas staying pedigree was sent out a short favourite.

After settling midfield off the rails, jockey Peter Graham made his move around Sniponet at the 800 metres to race towards the lead as the field approached the run home.

Graham opened the field up in the straight for an impressive win over Penny Fling, who tried to tag the ultimate winner along, but could only run second while Sniponet battled on soundly for third.

Race 5:           I T W Buildex Benchmark 55 Handicap                                         2012m

Another race and another win for the Lees stable as Face Like Thunder came down the outside for a comprehensive victory over the late burst of Tonna Power with Set The Tone sticking on for third.

The early portion of the race was highlighted by Jeff Kehoe who took Times Up straight to the front and raced away by five lengths down the back straight.

Louise Day rode the perfect race aboard Face Like Thunder to make her move at the 600 metre pole and sustain the run by dashing away over the concluding stages.

The run of the Steve Hodge trained galloper, Set The Tone was solid as she had the unenviable task of taking the opposition up to the tiring, Time’s Up.

Race 6:           Steeline Mid North Coast Benchmark 55 Hcp (Div 2)                  1210m

There was a genuine tempo set by Belinda Hodder aboard The Spitfire with Libertine Miss and the favourite, Classy Anna, perfectly positioned behind the leader.

The jockey of Libertine Miss, Ben Looker, was the first to make a move and came down the centre of the course with Classy Anna skirting the outside fence.

The Benjamin Smith trained mare, Libertine Miss, was able to hold on for a well deserved victory from the favourite with Morning Fare doing his best work late to land third prize and The Spitfire tiring notably over the concluding stages.

Race 7:           Steeline Mid North Coast Benchmark 55 Hcp (Div 1)                  1210m            

With the late scratching of Magic Beneteau causing a reshuffle in betting operations, the promising galloper, General Sepoy was sent out the $2.70 favourite.

Belinda Hodder took the Tony Green trained gelding, Harvard Graduate to the lead from Feature and Stop The Fight.

Harvard Graduate let the field to the bend with many of the opposition jockeys making a beeline towards the outside fence on horses like General Sepoy and Stop The Fight.

With all the challengers attacking, Harvard Graduate was able to lift near the post to sustain the win over General Sepoy, who tried hard while Not Doubtful did his best work late for third.

Race 8:           Steeline Port Macquarie Class 3 Handicap                                   1512m

A superb front running ride by Cejay Graham ensured punters ended the day happy when Red Braids landed the prize after being able to stave off the late challenge of Pindara.

The win completed a hat trick for the Paul Perry trained Uncle Mo filly after saluting at Tuncurry and Port Macquarie over the last month.

The run of Pindara was full of merit after giving the ultimate winner a tidy start in the straight and flashing down the outside while We’re Smokin made valuable ground closer to the rails.


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