Sport

Gwenda Johnstone has a Blonde’s Day Out at Wangaratta

By Riverine Herald

IT’S ALWAYS hard to watch when you’re not there.

Even harder when you want to shout at your horse to get a move on.

But as the field rounded the turn into the home straight at the Wangaratta races on Monday Gwenda Johnstone almost got up from watching the $20,700 Ovens Ford Wangaratta Maiden over 1400m and went outside to do some more work.

Because her horse Blonde’s Day Out was having anything but . . . a day out.

“I knew she had no hope from where she was, there’s coming from behind and then there’s way too far behind,” Johnstone said.

“I almost couldn’t watch when Daniel (jockey Daniel Moor) suddenly started to wind her up,” she said.

Wind her up was the understatement of the day.

By the time the field had settled after the jump, Blonde’s Day Out, expected to be near the back of the field, was in fact stone cold last in the 12-horse race.

With the field strung out down the back straight, BDO must have been almost 20 lengths adrift of the 90/1 bolter Doctor Timor, which was setting the pace.

As the horses came around the bend they spread across the spacious Wangaratta track and there were challenges coming from everywhere.

With the post in sight there were still eight horses ahead of BDO and some vigorous riding from Moor did not appear to be having any impact.

But Johnstone, watching from the comfort of home, was starting to get just a little excited.

“When she jumps she is just so relaxed; it’s not really anything about gate speed, she comes out of the gate and is in no hurry to go anywhere,” Johnstone explained.

“But she just doesn’t travel; or get on the bit. She goes along at her own pace and there’s no point pushing her early just so you are up on the pace,” she said.

“She was unlucky at her previous start, finishing third, but as soon as he got off, Daniel turned to me and said if we got her into a 1400m race she would win.

“And he was right.”

Yes, he was.

BDO was flying but it still all looked too late. But the leading five or six horses either hit the wall or Moor had a rocket under his saddle because BDO kept chewing up the lead and swept to victory literally in the last step as several horses hit the line together.

It was a spectacular way to break your maiden and, incredibly, BDO’s win has created a small problem for Johnstone.

In eight starts the consistent little mare now has one win, finished second once and third four times.

And clearly Daniel Moor has a connection with her.

And that’s the problem.

Moor won the first at Wangaratta on Jacobe Queen and BDO completed his double.

Before stewards ruled he had used his whip excessively in the first and suspended him until midnight on July 14.

“Daniel said to us to wait nine days, when his suspension will be up, and he will ride her again.”

Trainer and jockey agree BDO will be good out to the mile and a race Johnstone already has her eye on will see the horse make her first start over 1600m.

It was also a day of doubles at Wangaratta – apart from Moor, John Allen got his in races seven and nine while trainer Luke Oliver picked up winners in races five and eight.

And they weren’t suspended.

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