Glorious night for Macca and Don

12 February 2018 | Terry Neil
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Popular win . . . Beadman got the cash for connections at Bathurst last Wednesday.

Popular win . . . Beadman got the cash for connections at Bathurst last Wednesday.

GLENN McElhinney, a laid-back character, has won plenty of big races over the years - including successive Gold Crowns back in 2008/2009 - so his salute on passing the post with Beadman in a lowly C0 sprint at Gold Crown Paceway last Wednesday had everyone wondering.

The  racebook form guide, which indicated that the Grinfromeartoear five-year-old had been unplaced in five lifetime starts and - get this - beaten by a combined 487 metres in this season’s three attempts, supplied part of the answer.

And the rest of the puzzle was filled in when vetern Londonderry horseman Don Dopper, the horse’s owner-trainer-breeder, joined his driver for the trackside presentation.

“Macca” was warm in his praise of a terrific training effort, which required not only changes of both gear and training workload, but patience on an industrial scale.

“Don deserves the win so much - he’s never stopped believing in this horse, and he’s persevered when anyone else would have been tempted to give up on him.”

It was a very patient, and careful, drive as well. McElhinney was content to park the horse mid-field in the running line from his ODM draw, keeping him under a tight hold when he gave signs of bobbling out of his gear before the turn, and only giving him his head when they straightened for home. The margin back to Da Power Bolt and Nicka Time was a widening eight metres.

Dopper jogs his small team at home and fast-works on the big Hawkesbury training track, while his driver is based at Orchard Hills near Penrith, but geography is not the only thing they share.

They’re both passionate, life-long supporters of the South Sydney league team. Don’s green and red sash racestrip, his Souths cap, and Macca’s assertion that it was “another great win for the Rabbitohs” suggested that the raised whip earlier on might have been, partly at least, in honour of  their beloved red-and-greens.

And that was confirmed when Dopper threw in the fact that he’d watched the race from the area alongside the Clubhouse known (and signposted) as  “The Burrow”, in recognition of Bathurst C.E.O. Danny Dwyer, another Bunnies tragic.

As the strains of “Glory, glory...” faded away into the night, spectators on course - regardless of their teams- recognised it as a fine training performance and a win that was richly deserved.

On a rare night at Bathurst that saw nine individual trainers and drivers successful on the nine-event card, other winners were:

In The Extreme (Aaron Garaty for Steve Jones) with a King Frost-class sprint to take out the Norm and Garth Harkham Memorial, and Belligerence ( Amanda Turnbull for Steve), which stuck to the markers from five back, to score a remarkable win in the John and Margaret Donnelly Memorial;

Imthevillagestar (Justin Reynolds for grandfather Russell), deathseated in a C2 Encouragement Stakes, gaining Drive of the Night honours from Mitch Manners, and What A Jolt ( John O’Shea for Lester Hewitt), which led throughout in the fast class, rating a slick 1:56.5 over the testing 2260 metres distance;

Brads Luck (Doug Hewitt for Bernie) leading throughout in the first 3YO sprint, on the back-up after racing on the grass at Orange three days earlier, with Castalong Shadow taking honours in the second division, for a very relieved Geoff Simpson, who is considering “that” operation for his Gold Crown-winning colt;

Our Stella Rose, sprinting home well from the one-one in the earlier C0 sprint, the half-sister to class mare Aldebaran giving Neil Day his first win at the new Bathurst track, and Uncle Jord (Anthony Frisby for Chris) successful in the first 2YO race of the season at Bathurst, the graduate from last year‘s APG Sale looking sharp as he sprinted home in a 58.6s final half.

Bathurst race again on Sunday February 18, when the annual Group 10 Rugby League Day comes to Gold Crown Paceway.