Sydney trainers' premiership down to the wire
The battle for the Sydney trainers’ premiership will come down to the final meeting of the season at Warwick Farm on Friday with neither leader Gai Waterhouse nor nearest rival Peter Snowden able to land a winner at Canterbury.
Snowden trails Waterhouse (83-1/2 wins) by 1-1/2 wins ahead of the eight-race card in Sydney’s west.
Waterhouse has four acceptors for Warwick Farm while Snowden has nine, with two of those emergencies.
Darley Australia trainer Snowden had a frustrating day at the office at the penultimate meeting of the season on Wednesday with a couple of seconds and a third while Waterhouse had a second and a third from her small team at Canterbury.
Waterhouse, who returned from a month-long overseas holiday during the week, believes the premiership race is a good advertisement for racing.
"I got off the plane the other day and somebody who knew nothing about racing wished me good luck in the premiership battle and I think that’s great for the sport," Waterhouse said.
"We’ve got some nice winter horses who are trying to make it into the spring on Friday but overall it’s a good team and we should go well. I want to win it."
Snowden looked as though he would peg one back on Waterhouse when Deutsche kicked strongly rounding the turn and had the measure of Waterhouse’s charge Bondi Blonde in the Ruse Tavern Handicap (1550m).
But the Kris Lees-trained Lil And Grace crashed the party, flying home to edge out Deutsche by a short head with Bondi Blonde 2-1/2 lengths third.
The win gave runaway jockeys’ premiership leader Hugh Bowman his 98th winner for the season.
Bowman leaves for Darwin on Wednesday night to ride in the Palmerston Sprint on Saturday as part of the Darwin Cup carnival.
Later on Wednesday the Snowden-trained Reprobate led upon straightening but was easily overhauled in the closing stages by the Joe Pride-trained Hades in the Freeway’s Great Steaks Plate (1250m).
Reprobate finished third.
Patinack Farm trainer Jason Coyle prevented Waterhouse from skipping further ahead of Snowden earlier when Trusting stormed home to defeat $3.90 favourite Exceed With Me by two lengths in the Grey Gums Hotel Penrith Handicap (1200m).
Trusting was backed from $21 in to $14.
Trainer Matthew Smith is eyeing off the four-race Princess Series with Hurtle Myrtle after her breakthrough win in the Freeway Republic Beer Handicap (1200m) in which she edged out $1.5 million yearling purchase Little Surfer Girl by a short head.
In the earlier two-year-old race trainer Graeme Rogerson celebrated the victory of Dats Ma Gal who scored in the Freeway Hotel Artarmon Handicap (1200m).
By Russell Jackson