Williams hits training stride
EMERALD Jockey Club hosted a top day of country racing action at Pioneer Park on Sunday, with very competitive racing and solid fields in all five races and several thrilling finishes.
Club president Leon Roberts was impressed with the quality of racing, with some fields being well and truly TAB calibre.
Roberts said the club was strongly considering making the day a permanent Sunday fixture to avoid clashing with the Mackay Cup and ensuring jockey availability and horse numbers.
Four of the seven races on the program were taken out by local trainers Glenda Bell and Raymond Williams.
Newly licensed trainer Williams' career may be only six months old but he has established an extremely healthy strike rate of one winner for every three starters.
Williams took out the first race on the program, the first division of the Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000 metres, with Hayyler's Tary who was sent out a $3.00 favourite with Brooke Richardson in the saddle.
They took out the event with plenty in hand.
Williams backed it up in race six on the program, the 1200 metre Open Handicap with his talented sprinter, Shigeru Mahogany ($3.20), who gave his rivals a galloping lesson, running away for a 3.5 length win.
The Williams' trained galloper has now been in the winner's circle on three occasions from four starts.
Williams - a smart jockey in his day before weight caught up with him - still holds an amateur rider's licence and rides in the picnic racing circuit.
After turning his hand to training, Williams has shown plenty of talent as a trainer after many years as Glenda Bell's track work rider and a key person in her stable.
Long time Emerald trainer Glenda Bell also continues to churn out winners from her Hogan Road stable.
Bell saddled up Clappers for Emerald Jockey Club stalwarts Mary and Cres Bulger.
The ever consistent galloper made light work of the big weight of 62 kilograms allotted to the gelding - who loves the Pioneer Park short course - to take out the Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000 metres.
The galloper was ridden to perfection by Mark Barnham in a strong return to winning form. Bell also found herself in the winner's circle with Wallach who took out the Maiden Handicap over 1100 metres.
Wallach ran his rivals ragged, leading all the way with veteran Mackay hoop David Simmons in the saddle.
Bell atoned for her disappointing day at Ooralea Park with her stable star Fastnet Flyer, who finished down the track in the Mackay Cup behind Brisbane trainer Stephen Tragea's runner, Bergerac ($6.00), with Brisbane apprentice Michael Murphy in the saddle taking the cup.
Bergerac defied a massive betting drift to score in last Saturday's $150,000 Mackay Cup in a close finish.
Bell is unsure where she will place Fastnet Flyer next or if she will send him for a spell and then try and take out the Emerald 100 in October.
Clermont apprentice Emma Bell has formed a strong affinity with one of the most promising horses in training in the Central West and produced arguably the most impressive win of the day at Ilfracombe in the Moore Civil & Plant Hire/ Protyre Benchmark 60 Handicap 1000 metres.
Dennis O'Brien's trained Rosexcel, with Bell in the saddle on six occasions, has now recorded three wins and three seconds from only seven runs for the stable.
The mare produced a barnstorming sprint in the straight for Bell to hit the lead and hold off the classy Ross Meek trained Bound To Me in a tight finish.
Rosexcel continues to produce the goods in stronger races every time she steps up and Bell was glowing in her post race praise of the mare's ability, predicting more wins are in store for the Blackall trained mare.