June 29, 2023
There could be a double dash of black and white in the spotlight at Wondai on Saturday.
Firstly, the classic black and white theme is sure to be popular with the fashionable enthusiasts. Secondly, It could also be prominent if Ultra Instinct takes out the Kevin Duff Memorial (0-55, 1000m).
The mare, by Shooting To Win, went poorly at Bell in January 2022 after a long, nine-start campaign in Victoria for the Michael and Luke Cerchi training partnership. However, first up after a spell, she chalked up an Esk Maiden victory for her new trainer, Tom Moloney, on a heavy track on July 9, 2022.
The chestnut was again rested after five more appearances before resuming with a creditable third at Wondai on Anzac Day.
More recently, the lightly raced five-year-old which works out on the Wondai circuit is seeking a third straight success to add to her wins in June at Gayndah and Gympie.
The stablemates Ultra Instinct and Diggity are both raced by Bob and Dorothy Black and Mark and Shelley Ruff.
Diggity absolutely flew home for an eye-catching, luckless seventh in the $200,000 Battle of the Bush Final (1200m) last Saturday.
Stewards reported that, “on leaving the 1000 metres, Diggity had to be steadied when awkwardly placed at heels”. Connections were left wondering what the outcome might have been, given ordinary luck.
Diggity began well, but after the trouble, drifted back to be last. He still had all 15 rivals in front of him 200 metres out.
Both Diggity (Gemma Steele, $91) and Hard Stride (Andrew Mallyon, $61) looked to be in peak condition as they paraded at Eagle Farm.
Jason Judge, who will saddle up Black Sparrow in the Stephanie Memorial QTIS Maiden at Wondai reported that, although Hard Stride had pulled up well after his memorable effort in the Battle, he didn’t wish to ask him to back up this weekend.
The Toowoomba trainer stuck to that conviction even after nominations were extended when only four entries were received for the Open Handicap.
Hard Stride is a 12-year-old but still relishes racing.
He pinged the gates and took the early lead in the Battle of the Bush final before settling in third spot on the rail. He was still giving a ton of cheek 100 metres out but was cut out of third berth within the shadows of the post.
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Wondai Duo’s Near Historic Moment
When the Sunshine Coast Turf Club opened for action on Thursday July 25, 1985, jockey Cheryl Crosby (now Dennien) and trainer Robin Hartwig were three-quarters of a length shy of a unique place in the turf’s annals.
The Wondai pair finished second to Mister Omega (Ron Quinton, 8/1) with their 40/1 shot Minna Marie in the first race run at Caloundra’s Corbould Park.
Even so, it was a rural result. The winner was owned by Toowoomba bookmaker Paul Nolan and prepared at Warwick by Brian Tattam, a hobbyist who worked as an inspector of noxious weeds.
Nolan told the media at the time that the $900 yearling was badly injured as a youngster.
“Most of the muscle at the top of his foreleg is missing, but it hasn’t stopped him from winning eight races from 12 starts,” he said.
“He never has a saddle on him between races. We toughen him by pulling a gig and swimming him at Neil Coy’s trotting stables.”
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The annual Wondai race day commemoration of the lives of Lewis, Neal, Kevin and Stephanie Duff was washed out in 2022 so this meeting has added significance.
The program has attracted 16 acceptors from Burnett stables and others from Thangool, Toowoomba, Chinchilla, Dalby, Roma, Gympie, Ipswich, Beaudesert and the Sunshine Coast.
Looking forward to seeing you trackside!