JOCKEY Jake Noonan started out as one of the stars of the day at Echuca Racing Club’s 2017 New Year’s Eve meeting yesterday after winning races three and four.
Until boom apprentice Lachlan King put together his own double, both for his master, Mansfield-based trainer Gerald Egan.
Then a protest over interference in race six cost King his second win and Noonan stepped back onto the top spot of the podium.
In the $22,000 1Print Maiden Plate over 1170m Estrella Fella tried to do it from the front, battling on gamely in the straight.
But when several others started rolling Estrella Fella started rocking, before fading to finish at the tail of the field with early pacesetter Persian Faith.
Noonan, riding Weld, joined the charge, flashing up on the outside to grab them all right on the line – an impressive and mature performance from a three-year-old chestnut colt in its first race start.
Rory Hunter, representing Mick Price Racing, said the stable had been taking its time with the young entire.
“Weld and Jake didn’t begin that well, and as a colt we realise he can get easily distracted,” Hunter said.
“But Jake found a good spot in the field and the horse responded when asked for an effort so we are very happy with his attitude and his run and Jake did a great job on him,” he said.
In the next on the card – $20,000 Revving the River Festival BM64 Handicap over 2100m – Noonan left nothing to chance, taking his mount Assertive Star to the front from the jump and stayed there all the way to the line.
As the field straightened for the run home challengers started lining up but Noonan gave the horse a nudge and it stole a mini-break on the others.
Poppiholla got the closest but not close enough, with Noonan/Assertive Star finishing in front by a long neck.
Caulfield-based trainer Byron Cozamanis said it panned out pretty well how they wanted.
“I said to Jake to let him roll forward and if they found they were leading to stay there as this is a bit of a one-pace horse,” Cozamanis said.
Noonan described the horse as having “great aerobic capacity”.
“This was a different ride to the previous one as this horse has been pretty consistent all year and has done a good job,” Noonan added.
“And it wasn’t like the previous race, we had it pretty easy all the way around, although he dawdled a bit early,” he said.
“But when I asked him to get a move on at the 600m mark and he did, from there it was all pretty straightforward.”
In a fitting finish to the day Tahlia Hope brought Hussy’s Glow from stone-cold last on the turn into the straight storming to the front for a last-gasp win.
At the previous Echuca meeting Hope had ridden four winners, so she is fast becoming something of an Echuca specialist.
“It’s a good way to finish the year (Hope missed several months with a broken leg but has still managed to ride 35 winners) and it was good to win on her,” Hope said.
“She did not have a lot of luck at her previous start (Hussy’s Glow finished fifth out of nine at Tatura on December 10),” she said.
Yesterday Hussy’s Glow had problems at the gate and came out in last place with the job in front of her.
But Hope rode with great patience – and confidence in the horse, and never once pulled the whip as she started her long run down the outside.
“But she got a good opening and I was pretty happy with the way the race panned out today.”