It is over 3000kms between Hobart and Perth, but the distance proved to be merely a chore for the talented Man For Man, who landed the $12,000 Westcha$e final at only his second look at the Cannington circuit.
Arriving in Western Australia undefeated in four starts, the 33kg fawn chaser put in a solid – yet well beaten – second placing behind Kalden Aurora last week, in the heat of the series.
Having showed a manic need for the rail, Paul Smith’s newest acquisition wasn’t given much hope from box seven, especially considering the quality of the other finalists. Vocal Enforcer ($2.50) would start a pronounced favourite, with Mini Emily ($3.50) and the aforementioned Kalden Aurora ($6.60) looking the main dangers.
At box rise, it looked as if the punters had it correct, with Kalden Aurora showing the most dash and the other two favourites carving across from wide draws. But the race changed complexion when Reef Rider ($8.10) checked off the leaders’ heels and then made heavy contact with Vocal Enforcer. This allowed the $20.60 outsider, Man For Man, who’d missed the kick and made his customary bee-line for the rail, to sneak up into second place.
Mini Emily took control down the back, and from there most would think that the result would be beyond doubt. However, the amazing heart of Man for Man had been displayed in the past, albeit on the Apple Isle, and this was to be another example.
With Mini Emily still holding all the cards on the turn, Man For Man peeled off its back and came with a big run. In a driving finish, the son of Mandagery Man and Roxy Nell found enough to steal the prize in the shadows of the post, with a neck separating them on the line.
Vocal Enforcer recovered to run third, but lost too much ground during the first turn dramatics to make a real impact, as too did Kalden Aurora who ended up down the track.
Man For Man’s short career was one full of merit before making the trek to the kennels of Paul Smith. Under the care of Ted Medhurt in Tasmania, the dog began racing the hard way, having to overcome trouble in nearly all of his races. Those that saw his win at Launceston in early June would admire the courage of the dog, where he came from an impossible position to swamp three runners within 50m of the line.
Tasmanian chasers are no strangers to W.A racing, with runners being sent across with much regularity for the past year. Regent Diamond was one who made his way through to Free For All company, while Bank On Doom, Jeannie’s Gift and Ever Grace are all former Tasweigians tasting success in recent weeks.
South Australia has also joined in the party, thanks to Sweet Jam, who took out the 715m event, beating Kalden Athena in the process. Another winner with odds of more than $20.00, the daughter of Collide and Sweet Babe Blue began well and ran away from the field in the closing stages. It was Sweet Jam’s third start in the state and first win for trainer, Lee Biddle.
The upsets just kept coming on a tough Saturday night for punters, with Pedrosa once again going down for the second week in a row. This time it was Spring Legend from box eight who turned the tables in 30.58, holding off a late charge from former Queenslander, Banzai Pipeline. Pedrosa actually began well from box one and led the field down the back. But in an uncharacteristic performance, the superstar chaser tired into fourth place, and was beaten a long way from home.
While Pedrosa’s form may have slipped somewhat, the depth at Free-For-All level has notably increased, which is a strong sign once the National Sprint Championship heats which arrive in a few weeks time.