The Topgun may not have been the fairytale that Ken Gill, Helen Deacon or many other racing fans had hoped for, but rest assured that Ernie Bung Arrow has lost none of his amazing ability since his recent interstate voyage.
Returning back to the Angle Park circuit for the first time since eclipsing the state’s biggest race, Ernie Bung Arrow lined up in the third and final heat of the Group 3 Brian Johnstone memorial conducted this afternoon.
Starting from box two as a $1.10 favourite, the son of Lochinvar Marlow sizzled out of the boxes, setting a first split of 4.33; just a length off the sectional record set by Ritza Ben earlier in the year. Motoring off the back 16.72, there was no sign of fatigue as he careered away to win by eight lengths in an overall time of 29.66.
Emerley Zodiac was clearly the best of the rest, but was no competition for the winner who would surely be ‘in the red ‘to claim his third Group title in as many months.
Earlier in the day the series kicked off with a depleted field of four runners, with an anticipated match-race between fancied pair of Set The Scene for Lawrence Callaghan and As It Goes for Ossie Chegia.
Those two runners would eventually fill the quinella in the opening heat, with Set The Scene making the pace for all of the 515 metres, stopping the clock at 29.91with sectionals of 4.43 and 16.99. He finished a couple of lengths clear of As It Goes and Redeeming who both progress to the semi-finals.
Farmeroo has been an eye-catching young chaser in recent weeks, and he continued that form by taking out the second heat a short time later. Beaten for pace early by Woodnear, who sprung out in 4.58, Farmeroo was too strong in the run home, turning a two-length deficit into a three-length win by the time the finish line whizzed by.
Farmeroo was the slowest of the three heats however, running 30.00 neat, eclipsing his previous best of 30.09 set last week. He gives Ken Gill and Helen Deacon another live chance however, of eclipsing the $25,000 on offer in two weeks time.
But with a distinct lack of depth amongst the nominations this year, the chances of any runner stealing the prize away from Ernie Bung Arrow do appear rather slim.
The Group 3 Brian Johnstone memorial continues next Thursday night with two semi-finals, before the main event gets takes centre stage on December 8.
In other news coming out of the Festival State, Middleton trainer, Matthew Payne has been asked to face the stewards in relation to a swab taken from Tian Hao Diva on 16th September that returned positive for a banned substance (Androstane).
Tian Hao Diva has since been transferred to Barry McPherson’s kennels in Western Australia, however Mr. Payne remains the caretaker of several other chasers including the aforementioned pair of Ritza Ben and Woodnear. The inquiry will take place on Monday 2nd December.