** Kindly supplied by the Western Australian Racing Trainers Association
Alterations to the jockeys’ car park and float parking have been suggested as a first step in improving the safety of horses and their handlers following a recent incident when horses escaped onto Great Eastern Highway.
A recent meeting of trainers and Perth Racing Track Manager Geoff Murphy discussed a number of propositions including electronically controlled gates for access to the swimming pool and various entrance points to the parking area and track.
Trainers saw this as being “overkill” and suggested safety would be improved by moving the jockeys’ car park to the members’ parking area and resiting the two-float parking area. They claim many of the safety issues arise as horses are being unloaded or loaded onto floats.
Questions have been raised on field sizes for two-year-old races with a suggestion that 16-horse fields for young horses at Belmont during the winter season should be reviewed. Early in the season two-year-old races are restricted to 12 starters, yet inexperienced horses continue to cause delays and problems for barrier staff throughout the winter. A recent 16 horse field included eight unraced horses and four with only one or two starts.
Meetings of the WA Racing Trainers’ Association, which are open to all members, will commence an hour earlier at 10am at Perth Racing offices. The meetings are held on the last Friday of the month and the earlier start will allow trainers to have occasional meetings with officials from Perth Racing and RWWA.
Gear changes helped rejuvenate a couple of recent weekly Hi Gains training awards noted by Perth racing expert Ernie Manning. The awards included:
WINTER WINNER: Steve Wolfe made a successful gear change to his Albany galloper Our Ol’ Fella before winning the $60,000 Winter Championship at Belmont on June 18. The horse appeared to be heading for a spell after several unplaced runs in Albany before Wolfe decided to take the blinkers and the lugging bit off and the result proved a bonanza for connections. Our Ol’ Fella has been a handy horse winning seven races from 23 starts and more than $200,000 in stakemoney.
NEXT GENERATION: The Gangemi name has been prominent in WA racing for years through the exploits of Henley Brook mentor John Gangemi. However, the spotlight went onto son Chris Gangemi after he saddled up two horses in the $80,000 Belmont Guineas on June 5 leading in the winner with The Underworld and third placegetter Private O’Dea. It was a major success for the 25-year-old trainer who took out a license just 10 months earlier. The achievement was the more meritorious considering The Underworld had suffered a jaw infection and it took three weeks of treatment to get the horse ready for the race.
ROAD TO SUCCESS: Caves Road put in a disappointing run when starting favourite and running fourth in a Belmont race in June. Trainer Lindsay Smith believed the horse had raced too keenly and he decided to add an Orton bit to the gelding’s gear to help settling him in his racing. That initiative paid off when Caves Road settled down nicely before striding away to win at Belmont on July 9.
BATES DOUBLE: Ascot trainer Stan Bates provided the success story at the Belmont meeting on July 9 with a winning double with Miss Topsy Turvey and All Fraired Up. All Fraired Up has been a model of consistency with six wins from nine starts and has yet to be beaten in six Belmont starts with a perfect three-for-three first-up record. But it was Miss Topsy Turvey’s win in the $80,000 Belmont Oaks that provided the icing on the cake. It was only the filly’s second win from 13 starts, her previous success being a 1000m maiden at York. However Miss Topsy Turvey had rarely finished further back than fourth in her career and she raced more strongly as the distances increased. The 2000m of the Oaks proved ideal.