A big crowd witnessed the three heats of the GRNSW Country Challenge Orange Cup at Bathurst on Saturday evening January 17.
The Garry Williams trained Beverage put in a tradesmanlike performance to set the time standard at 30.38 but the run of the night came from runner-up Rockstar Image.
As Beverage took the lead at the first turn there was carnage behind and Rockstar Image almost hit the outside fence.
Spotting Beverage a sizeable margin Rockstar Image came from a seemingly impossible position to snatch second spot from Elite Fury to be beaten less than four lengths.
Janderra’s Mate bounded straight to the front in the second heat but as heads were turned for home it looked as though Dana Beatrice had the leader’s measure.
However it wasn’t to be as the Pam Braddon prepared Janderra’s Mate pulled out all stops to deny Dana Beatrice by a half head in 30.56 with Rapid Phoenix two and half lengths back in third.
Dana Tiger made amends for his litter-mates defeat when he led throughout to secure the third heat in 30.55. Trained at Cowra by Rod McDonald the son of Collision X Dana Betty had four and a half lengths to spare over Elite Flash on the line and despite the unlucky Irinka Dennis flashing home late for third he will be the first reserve.
The box draw was conducted on-course later in the evening and with the three main fancies all drawing wide it appears to be a very open final.
The GRNSW Country Challenge Orange Cup box draw is:
- 1. Elite Fury
- 2. Rapid Phoenix
- 3. Janderra’s Mate
- 4. Dana Tiger
- 5. Elite Flash
- 6. Rockstar Image
- 7. Beverage
- 8. Dana Beatrice
- 9. Irinka Dennis
- 10. Mean Jet
On a top card of racing there was also a feature race final, the Julie Healey Memorial Final which was taken out by in-form chaser Loyal Conquest who led throughout to defeat Barlavie and Simple As That in 26.38.
It was the fourth consecutive win for Loyal Conquest and considering that only a month ago the daughter of Hallucinate and Gone Bye was winless after 14 starts her transformation has been quite remarkable and all credit must go to Freeman’s Reach mentor Rob Shepherd.