Sunday Territorian 18 May 2014
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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SUNDAY MAY 18 2014 SPORT 63 V2 - NTNE01Z01MA Ya gotta get to Alice IT has been a sad week following the passing of Australian sporting icons Tom Hafey, Reg Gasnier, Bob Hoysted and Zimbabwean caddie Ian McGregor. Hopefully the following will cheer you up and brighten up your Sunday. Was lucky enough to get to the Alice Springs Cup back on May Day. Its a great day. As a former Alice Springs resident when employed at the Centralian Advocate it was once again great to cross paths with familiar faces. And as usual a host of Darwin racing identities made the trip to the Red Centre. It was around 24C on a cloudless day and a light breeze greeted patrons as they arrived for the biggest day on the Alice Springs Turf Clubs calendar. Work colleague Doug Booth, the racing writer for the NT News and Sunday Territorian, was making his debut appearance and he commented later that he couldnt fault the assistance he received from officials, owners, trainers and jockeys. Doug also teamed up with Jordan McArdle from the Centralian Advocate as they set about chasing interviews and filing stories. Greg Aldam and Andrew OToole, who also provide tips every week for the NT News, were on course with the former taking part in the presentation following the running of race two on behalf of his employer Unibet and the latter assisting Sky Channel in their coverage of the meeting. Even The Phantom, the other NT News race tipster, was spotted in the crowd. Racing got under way with apprentice Tara ODonnell, who hails from Ireland, producing arguably the ride of the day to get Cruziero home for Strathalbyn trainer Kym Healy, who would end up having an even bigger win at the end of the day. Shane Green, the former race-caller at Pioneer Park, was back in town and he, along with Sky Channels Matthew Hill, got to call two races each on the eight-event program. Young Mark Matthews from Adelaide, who dreams of becoming a professional racecaller one day, was behind the binoculars and microphone for the other four races, including the Cup. The Leanne Gillett-trained Purple Passage from Alice Springs, with apprentice Kayla Cross aboard, was an emphatic winner of the Inglis Red Centre 2YO Classic over 1200m. The fact there were only four starters for such a big race for two-year-olds was alarming. The Alice Springs Cup is raced over 2000m, but earlier in the day there was another race scheduled over 2000m. Adelaide raider Idatrice got the cash and it wasnt hard to see why all starters didnt get a run in the Cup as they fair dinkum laboured over the final 400m. It came as no surprise when Walkingaroundmoney now theres a great name for a racehorse saluted in the race for apprentices over 1100m. Kate Brooks, who made the trip from Adelaide, was the winning jockey in her first ride on the track. I wont come back here because I have a 100 per cent record, a buoyant Brooks said after the race. The fairer sex combined to land the trifecta in the apprentices race with NSW rider Claire Nutman finishing second on So Real and Darwins Melanie Tyndall coming third on Blue Shore. It was another win for the girls in The Soldier Lightning Stakes (1000m) when local jockey Jan Cameron guided Tudor Glen to victory for Alice Springs trainer Mark Nyhan. Memorable Moment, who followed the other runners home, kicked out and connec ted with an attendant as he was loaded into the barriers. With 60kg on his back, I Am Magic flew home to record a memorable win in the seventh race over 1400m for Darwin trainer Kerry Petrick and jockey Paul Denton. According to Denton, I Am Magic has had his leg problems in the past and was on the verge of retirement before Petrick nursed him back to health. He only runs now and again, but persistence certainly pays off, said Denton. The start of the race had patrons gasping for breath when Adelaide jockey Dom Tourneur, who had won six of the past seven Alice Springs Cups, fell from his mount Adynata trained by Dick Leech in Darwin. Happily, both horse and rider escaped injury. More importantly, Tourneur was free to ride hot pot Chieftain Jack in the Cup. So the Cup finally rolled around as the shadows began to lengthen at the track located adjacent to the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges. Assessing various markets in the betting ring, Doug Booth walked by and suggested that five-year-old mare Pretty Blonde, trained by Kym Healy from Strathalbyn, was the one to beat. Found it hard to split Pretty Blonde and the Adelaide-trained Chieftain Jack, so yours truly settled on both. Head to the tote to make a few bets and theres a fellow punter making life difficult for the young lady behind the counter. The Cup is looming as the queue continues to grow. Order is finally restored, but for the punter in question it wasnt his finest hour. For the third straight year, your author fluked the quinella in the Cup as Pretty Blonde followed Chieftain Jack, who ran out of puff after sprinting for home at the 700m, across the line. Waggabilla gave the locals something to cheer about when he finished third as he is trained by Terry Huish in Alice Springs. Winning jockey Justin Potter, yet another Adelaide hoop to taste success in Alice Springs premier race, never felt he was in any danger. The speed was good and although Chieftain Jack took off I was confident I would get him in the home straight, Potter said. That was my eighth win on Pretty Blonde the most wins I have had aboard any horse. It capped off a great day for Potter following his win earlier in the day aboard the Port Lincoln-trained Arties Angel in the Queen Of The Desert Stakes (1200m). Plenty of punters celebrated after the running of the Cup, and of course there were others who looked down and out as they headed for the exit. There was rumour circulating around Pioneer Park that a punter had allegedly plonked $100,000 on Chieftain Jack in the Cup, so that individual if the rumour is true wont forget the 2014 Alice Springs Cup in a hurry. As mentioned, Dom Tourneur has enjoyed unqualified success in the Alice Springs Cup, but the tactics that he employed aboard Chieftain Jack backfired. With the racing out of the way, local band Late Scratching provided further entertainment and it was appropriate that their opening song was Collective Souls Shine. Alice Springs Turf Clubs chief executive officer Des Friedrich and his staff certainly did Shine. The biggest mystery of all is how on earth did your author miss the Fashions of the Field one of the more popular attractions on Cup Day. David White is also the host of Saturday Sports on Darwin radio station Territory FM and can be followed on twitter @journoyt Holly Castley (left), Sarah George and Melinda Edwards caught the eye of the judges in the Fashions of the Field on Alice Springs Cup Day at Pioneer Park back on May 5. In the end, it was Sarah who walked away with first prize Picture: PHIL WILLIAMS