Safe arbor to bet on: South Arbor is providing a great return on investment

By Riverine Herald

JIM Lake must be loving it with his horse South Arbor winning the $20,000 Echuca Newsagency Handicap over 1600m at Echuca racecourse on Wednesday.

Sent out favourite, the super consistent four-year-old gelding embarrassed the field over the classic mile.

Although a lot of money was tipped into Magic Pegasus, whose price went from 15/1 to 10/1 in a plunge that would prove a waste of good money as it did not even run a place.

Before the race Lake said his horse was doing everything right.

“I have been very happy with him,” the veteran trainer said.

“I’ve always said he could run a mile but if he doesn’t, well, then I guess I would be wrong,” he joked.

“I have asked Jarrod (jockey Jarrod Fry) to try and sit behind them and then let him loose.

“The horse won here on Melbourne Cup day and has had two seconds after that – when he gets his head right he will really start winning some races.”

At the barrier locally trained Regal Reece (Rhys Archard) rattled the field with an ugly performance in the stall and doing its best to unseat the jockey after attendants backed it out of the gate.

It was given the all-clear to run but did nothing to impress.

As opposed to South Arbor, which accidentally found itself in front with no early pace so Fry gave him his head and they took off.

He dictated the race from the front, held them off on the bend and then blew them away in the straight.

With 150m to run it was all South Arbor, he crossed the line by the better part of two lengths having been eased down soon after Fry took a long look over his shoulder at that point.

It was Fry’s second win of the meeting, both for Echuca trainers. He would finish with a triple, winning on Gina’s Hope in the last race.

“I knew this horse needed ground, needed ground,” Lake said post-race.

Career-wise South Arbor has had 14 starts for two wins, four seconds and four thirds but this preparation has been seven starts for the two wins, three seconds and two fourths – always in the money.

The gelding has now won $61,000 in prize money.

“He’s just a really good horse, but his head can be a little troublesome,” Lake conceded.

Fry was delighted with the run, saying he had been able to control proceedings from the front and he knew the horse was never going to be beaten.

“Having the winkers on also made a big difference,” Fry added.

But Echuca’s first success in the eight-race card was in the first event with the other Archard; father Daryl, taking out the $23,000 Blaze Essential Services Maiden over 2100m with Mr Integrity.

Archard said after the horse’s strong second at its last start in Tatura he was pretty confident.

“I told Jarrod to play it by ear because the horse can miss the start a bit.”

Which he did; with Fry settling him at the back of the six horse field from where he tracked along until around the 600m post when the leaders launched a sprint breakaway to try and spread the field.

At the turn Mr Integrity still looked right out of it, he even started to hang a little coming out of the bend and again around the 200m mark.

But he was closing the gap with every stride.

Suddenly it was as though Quattro Porte and Casino Master had stopped dead in the water as Fry swept past them to win easily.

It was the horse’s first win from 24 starts but Archard has only had him for this preparation.

“You start to wonder, after every run, that you just can’t win one but he’s got the monkey off his back after today,” Archard said.

“He’s no all-star but I would like to think he will run a race or two more,” he said.

“The way he hit the line we might be able to stretch him out a bit more.”

In the next race – the $20,000 Murphy’s Turf Handicap over 1100m – it was the turn of the Cornish/Gaskin stable to fly the local flag.

Despite another plunge, which saw Our Sevira price tumble from $19 to $11 not long before they jumped and once again it was money down the drain.

Mick Cornish said Left Jaybee Out likes running on her home track and he liked having his stable’s apprentice jockey Mikaela Claridge on board with her 3kg claim.

And the apprentice was obviously in a rush to impress her masters with Left Jaybee Out flying out of the gate and before the field could settle the race was all but over.

LJO was more than five lengths clear as they approached the bend and kept extending the gap.

At the 400m Claridge, stuck like a postage stamp on her back, LJO was asked for an effort.

The pair was simply too good, no-one made any impact in the straight as Claridge ran it like a true sprint.