Sent on vacation mode – The Border Watch

STEADY ON FIRE NOW: It’s been a few days for local coach Michael O’Leary with a winner at Murray Bridge last Saturday (Maracourt) and another at Warrnambool (Four Outlaws) on Tuesday. Image: FILE IMAGE

David Gilbert


MOUNT Gambier coach Michael O’Leary was already in a happy state of mind even before the round the country race started last weekend.

He was, as always, looking forward to his annual stay in Cairns last Sunday to soak up plenty of winter sunshine and attend a race meeting or two in the North Queensland city.

Late Saturday afternoon, O’Leary was indeed in vacation mode after his promising galloper Maracourt recovered from a spell by winning at metropolitan level at Murray Bridge in the 1200 meters BM 62 handicap.

Eager bettors took the $15 bet in the two days leading up to the encounter and Maracourt went to the fence with an $8 chance with Jason Holder in the saddle.

However, Maracourt’s chances of victory looked slim at the top of the straight where Holder found himself among the taxi-catchers, as winners rarely come from behind the field at Murray Bridge despite the track space.

Holder opted for a path closer to the rails and Maracourt managed to pick up three wins in just five starts, all in 2022.

The four-year-old gelding runs in the colors of co-owner and breeder Bob McKay (red with a white sash), a longtime O’Leary customer.

In January, Maracourt made his debut with a victory in a first 1100 meters in Bordertown with a chance of $5.

It was the third start that really caught the eye of racing fans, when Maracourt defied a betting drift ($6.50-$8.50) and put in a huge effort to win here at Glenburnie on the 23rd February in a BM 58 handicap of 1550 meters after running wide three times. all the.

“He’s a hands-on guy and I’m just going to dig and run him through his classes,” O’Leary said.

It was nearly a race-to-race double for O’Leary when his other runner of the day, Scenic Host, a 20/1 chance in the final event, came home for a half- second.

Picaroon, arguably the best horse in the O’Leary stable these days, was signed up for cross-country racing at Bordertown the next day but did not take his place in the field.

“I wasn’t ready to run it on a heavy track and it will be saved for another day,” O’Leary said.


AFTER a false start to the 2022-23 local racing season at Mount Gambier earlier this month, the season jumped barriers with a seven-race card at Bordertown last Sunday.

The good weather the few days leading up to the meeting helped the cause and the race was held on a Heavy 8 surface.

It may have been a run-of-the-mill winter meeting, but South Australia’s best jockeys made the effort to come from Adelaide.

Kayla Crowther, former Victorian Jason Benbow and Todd Pannell – Adelaide’s first jockey last season – added spice to the game and Pannell took the honors with a brace.

The only successful South East coach was Bordertown-based Jeff Searle with Cheeky Grace, a tight BM 58 1200 meter handicap winner.

Today’s race came from Ravnikar, trained by Richard Nicholson, in the 1300 meter maiden.

It seemed almost impossible for Ravnikar to come any closer to the 400m standings, but the four-year-old gelding came home and made up huge ground in the final 200m to claim second prize.

The test after the last event went to Wings Of Pastrami, a Flemington winner from the Jeff Searle stable, who are due to resume racing in Adelaide tomorrow.

Mount Gambier is due to hold the next local meeting on Sunday September 11, which will be a prostate cancer fundraising function and will see the longest ever flat race run in Glenburnie.


PENOLA-born jockey Caitlin Jones entertained around 60 people as a guest speaker at the recent Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing awards luncheon in Naracoorte.

Jones has ridden 284 winners throughout her career, and her bubbly personality has made her a cinch for comrade Kevin “KD” Douglas to interview.

Her career began on the picnic racing circuit in country Victoria, a time she remembers vividly for the friendly atmosphere where everyone is still allowed to bring their own food and drink to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere. relaxed.

“I will always be a Penola girl at heart,” Jones said.

She admitted that she had three goals to achieve at the end of her career.

“I want to ride horses until I am 35 as long as I am fit and healthy, I am interested in pre-training and assisting horses and I wouldn’t mind being a race director a day on the track,” she said.

“The weight deterred me in my early years from becoming a jockey, but being able to ride these days at 54 kilograms has allowed me to do more races.”

The highlight of her career so far came earlier this year when she traveled to Dubai to look after three horses for the Will Clarken stable.

When a female jockey withdrew from the International Jockey Challenge in neighboring Saudi Arabia, Jones received a phone call to replace her.

“I thought maybe it was a scam, but it wasn’t and it ended up being a proud moment for me,” she said.

“I had never ridden on a dirt road and watched a few replays and ended up winning the series.

“When it comes to dress, women have to be fully covered in Saudi Arabia and luckily we didn’t have to cover our faces.”


APPRENTICE Jacob Opperman pulled the right rein when he opted to ride the Four Outlaws trained by Michael O’Leary in preference to his father’s horse Mulga Lil in the 1700m BM 58 Handicap at Warrnambool on Tuesday.

On the Heavy 10 rated track, the young Opperman took it upon himself to be the first jockey to meet to hug the rails from the top of the straight and it worked like a charm when Four Outlaws ($5) beat Mulga Lil one length.

“Four Outlaws wanted to hang on the home corner, so I took the risk and let it race along the rails,” Opperman said.

Opperman’s victory was spoiled a bit as he was fined $400 by the stewards for excessive whipping.


MANY people on both sides of the border are said to have had relationships over the years with Arthur Young, who died last Friday aged 82 in Casterton.

Young has been a vet in the western districts of Victoria for over 60 years at Warrnambool, Panmure and especially Casterton and even had a stint in England.

He was a vet at Casterton on race days and raced horses over the years.

Young’s funeral will be held at Casterton Town Hall beginning at 1:30 p.m. (SA time) next Tuesday (August 30).

COMING SOON – Tuesday August 30: Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club AGM, Greenwald Paceway from 7:30 p.m.; Sunday September 4: Casterton Races (Heywood Cup).

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