Paget scores treble, almost races away with entire card
By Hugh Kearney
There were five races but only three winning jockeys at yesterday's Tweed River Jockey Club Anzac Day meeting.
Coffs Harbour hoop Matt Paget rode the first three winners on the card, and with rides on a favourite and second favourite in the last two races, looked an early chance to win the entire card.
Paget started the day with an all-the-way win on Prince Cartier in the Kapyong Maiden handicap over 2000m.
He followed that with another strong ride on Single Bound in Race 2, the El Alamein Class 1 Handicap (1200m), again leading from the start and holding off all challengers.
In a tight finish, Single Bound won by a half length to Angel's World (Lorna Cook), with Murwillumbah runner Nobby's Creek (R Coleman) another half length away third.
Paget was booked on the even-money favourite Serene Beau for the third, the Gallipoli Open Handicap over 900 metres, and he didn't disappoint. Serene Beau was fast away and never headed over the sprint distance.
Wyndella (Lorna Cook) and Lightning Hill (Michael Palmer) filled the minor placings, the margins a length by a length.
Paget was considered a good chance in the feature race on the card, Race 4, the Murwillumbah Services Memorial Club Handicap over 2000 metres, riding the equal favourite and top weight Alackajaz.
The pace was slow, with riders reluctant to lead early.
Diamond Time (Lorna Cook) led to the 1200m mark before Flash of Insight took over the front running.
But the early leader wasn't done. Cook held her mount back until the right opportunity and, timing her run to perfection, drove Diamond Time to a sharp win by a long neck over Quite Quick (Dean Tanti) second, with Paget aboard Alackajaz three and a quarter lengths third.
For the winner it was second time lucky in the race.
Diamond Time, part-owned by former Murwillumbah trainers Bill and Christine Gavin, placed second by a nose to Knapstein in the same race last year. The 5-year-old bay mare trained by Dennis Dwane in Ballina has now won six races, but this was the first on the Tweed.
The last race, the Long Tan Handicap of 1500 metres saw second-line favourite In Alcatraz piloted by Cyril Small win a tight contest, a long neck ahead of Maltese Girl (R Coleman) second and Fred the Cowboy three quarters of a length third.
TRJC chairman Bernie Quinn said he was pleased with the crowd turnout for the event, billed as a family day, with entertainment and children's activities. During the meeting, Quinn introduced the club's new secretary-manager Steve Huggins and presented long-time deputy chairman Eric Lever with life membership.
The Tweed River Jockey Club's next meeting is another family day on May 7.