Here are a few things you might have missed in the wide world of racing over the past week.
QUIRKY (from abroad)
Alligator on the track causes a stir (USA)
If riding a horse at 60km/h isn’t enough for you, what about some reptiles for hurdles to spice things up?
An alligator parked itself on the course at Tampa Bay Downs, coinciding with the running of Race 6 on Friday.
Luckily, the ‘gator didn’t appear to come into contact with any horse flesh, but from the below vision, that wasn’t due to an apparent want of trying.
It looks like the ‘gator appeared to lash out when No.3 Mapache G went past, with jockey Hector Diaz Jr taking a look over his shoulder after the little drive-by.
Mapache G ran on well to finish second, 0.75L off the winner Shimmering Light – no thanks to the track invader out the back.
A note in Equibase’s report on the race read: “An alligator was on the track at the start of the backstretch, and may have caused off-camera interference with some of the horses in the field.”
Have heard of jumping the shark but not jumping the gator. A trainer with horse in the race said this dark spot on the track in Race 6 at @TampaBayDownsFL Feb 24 was an alligator. No mention in @Equibase chart though one jockey claimed foul (not against the gator). pic.twitter.com/PJt5fdrbxR
— Ray Paulick (@raypaulick) February 25, 2023
Quiet ride raises an eyebrow (USA)
“The jock just sitting tall in the saddle, looking for competition, but he better look to his right … “
The racecaller summed up the finale here a treat, as jockey Tyler Heard was swinging off his mount Counterstrike ($8.50) in the home straight.
Unfortunately, he might’ve been a bit too confident of having the race in the bag, as Group Eighteen ($78) and Grey Charmer ($6) swept down the outside while Heard was looking over both shoulders sitting pretty.
Heard did eventually get to work on Counterstrike only to finish a narrow third, the margins being a “nose x nose” – with the race’s roughest shot Group Eighteen getting the win.
What might have happened is Heard could’ve been too conscious of the $2.40 fav Blue Norther, who finished back in fifth.
Tyler Heard should be immediately suspended for at least a month after that display @TurfwayPark. Completely unacceptable histrionics there.
— Ed DeRosa (@EJXD2) February 25, 2023
This was brought to my attention, I don’t play TP
Ride on 2, should be arrested pic.twitter.com/siSAyzFvqD
— stefan (@BokkaL95) February 25, 2023
Undulating prep continues for British jumper (UK)
Seven-year-old gelding Goshen certainly keeps everyone on their toes.
He’s had six starts this prep, running second-last and last when sent out favourite.
Between those, he turned around a 65L defeat to a 8.5L win in three weeks in November.
On Sunday, he felt the 3800m race at Fontwell wasn’t far enough, taking an early right-hand turn to make jockey Jamie Moore earn his keep.
Goshen bottomed out late, finishing last in the field of five – 38.5L off the winner, Brewin’upastorm – the horse he beat by 8.5L at Ascot last year.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) February 26, 2023
QUIRKY (from Australia)
New ‘king of the longshot’ emerges
Victorian trainer Stephen Lenehan is having fun at the moment.
The Horsham-based horseman hadn’t found the winner’s stall for a few months coming into February, since three winners in September last year (including one at $61).
He then had a stunning return at Kangaroo Island two Fridays back, landing a treble with winners at $8.50, $26 and $61.
The $26 winner was 5YO mare Padstow Polly breaking her maiden at start No.32.
And the old adage about mares holding their form rang true when Polly backed up that long-awaited win to go two-in-a-row at Terang on Sunday.
The punters weren’t confident about her doing it again though, sent around at nearly triple figures (official SP $91).
The post-script was apprentice jockey Hannah Le Blanc was suspended for seven meetings and fined $500 for over-use of the whip in the win.
Lenehan is having some fun with his small team from Horsham at the moment
Sensation at Strathalbyn harness meeting
In what was a farewell to the Strathalbyn harness track, Sunday’s meeting started with a sensation.
The fittingly named Take My Wallet ($1.12) bungled the start and never recovered in the six-horse 1710m pace, finishing second-last, beaten 48.3m.
The $5 second-elect Grinforawin couldn’t capitalise either, with the equal roughest hope in the race Giant Jackson ($41) bolting in.
It wasn’t just the bungled start by Take My Wallet, but it looked like the mare might make amends and sweep the field in the final lap – only to hit the skids, with driver Samantha Pascoe looking perplexed as she tried to get her going.
$2F bombs start, tries something a bit different
We finish off with the latest tale from the Healesville greyhounds.
On Friday, $2F Got To Beware was a slot starter in Race 9 over 300m.
The dog in the blue rug then tried something audacious, trying to leap over the top of them.
Alas, it didn’t work and he finished second-last. Audacious play, though.
The blue rug literally tried to go over the top