Records smashed

Illoura, ridden by Chelsea MacFarlane, edges out Imitation Game, ridden by Simon Miller, to win the Leeton Toyota Spring Benchmark 58 Handicap. Photo: Kim Woods

Wagga Wagga trainer Trevor Sutherland scored a hat-trick with his gelding, Hangin’ With Willy, on Saturday, taking out the ProTen TC Lee Memorial Cup.

It was the third TC Lee win for Sutherland, who sent out Brook Sweeney aboard the eight-year-old in the Benchmark 58 handicap.

Paying $5 for the win, Hangin’ With Willy wore down the Phil Sweeney trained Bezazzalled, which raced to the lead with 200m to go. Hangin’ With Willy travelled the 1400m in 1:24:30, making the last 600m in 36.74 to score by half a head. Last up winner at Narrandera, Time for Tea, was half a length away in third for Swan Hill trainer Nathan Hobson.

Hangin’ With Willy had followed up a win on Gundagai on August 4 and is owned by Sutherland and the Boys n Babes syndicate. Part-owner Gordon Taylor accepted the TC Lee Cup from family representative Chris Lee.

Mr Taylor said the horse had been picked out of a paddock at Henty six years ago from breeder Geoff Walker.

“He was unlucky here last start and went on to win at Gundagai but ran in the mud at Wagga last week,” he said. “We were nervous here today but Brooke rode him very well.”

Hangin’ With Willy will now be set for either the Griffith Cup or a Benchmark 66 at Gundagai – he was second in the 2018 Griffith Cup.

“This track is a credit to the town – they should use it more often,” Mr Taylor said. “The smaller meetings are the best ones – it’s always a great day at Narrandera.”

Jockey Brooke Sweeney was trailling Bezazzalled trained by her father Phil in the straight.

“I had been watching the pattern all day and you had to be right on speed,” she said. “I kept him (Bezazalled) in my eye sight and when I asked Willy, he gave me a really good kick and I knew I had Dad’s horse right there.

“I was glad I could out punch him in my first ride back for six weeks – it’s great to have this moment and it’s awesome for these owners.”

Narrandera race day manager Michael Bailey said the track, rated at a good four, produced three class records on the day across the seven race meeting.

Mr Bailey said race three was run at .09 second outside of the track record of 1:10:78.

“For the 2019 racing season, we have had 483 nominations, 307 acceptances and 253 starters to smash all records for the club,” he said. “Our prizemoney totaled $376,000 for the year and we had 20 races programmed for the season.

“We ended up holding 23 races with an average of 11 horses per race. Wagering turnover defied NSW SKY2 Racing trends and we were up by 20 per cent on last year.”

The club also celebrated its 140th birthday with a cake cutting by treasurer Fiona Charles and patron Marj Anslow.

Around $3000 of the gate takings will be donated to Can Assist, Lions and Kurrajong.

Wagga trainer Gary Colvin scored in the opening 1000m maiden plate with five-year-old mare, Factor Ex, edging out the Daryl Archard trained Zoeasy in second.

Race two resulted in a two-and-a-half length win for Tumbarumba trainer George Dimitropoulos and Lennox Road, ridden by Bryan Murphy. Amanda Masters rode Under Restraint to second place for Albury trainer Kym Davidson.

Jockey Michael Travers took Sam straight to the lead in race three and was never headed to score by one and three-quarter lengths to Ballista in a time of 1:10:87 over the 1200m. Trained by John Tyack, Wagga, the gelding is by Congrats and notched up a class record for the race.

Michael Travers scored his second win for the meeting aboard Rosecraft in the 1200m race four, in another class record of 1.11:22. The Star Witness sired mare is trained by Scott Collings, Goulburn, and scored by a head to Western Prussia with Doctor Force in third place.

A third class record was set by Villicana for Corowa trainer Geoff Duryea in race five, finishing the 1600m in 1.37:17 to score by a length to Bravado Lass, with Autocrat in third.

Illoura provided a thrilling finish for jockey Chelsea MacFarlane in the final race, a head in front of Imitation Game, ridden by Simon Miller, and a short neck to Benno’s Boy in third.

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