Visitor collects winning double
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
A WINNING double to Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner was the highlight of a tidy four-race meeting at Ferguson Park on Saturday.
Gardiner, a regular visitor to the harbour city struck paydirt early, winning the opening two races on the local program.
His promising four-year-old Star Chariot made it back-to-back victories in the first, while Royal Solair finally broke through for his first career win in the Maiden Plate.
Gardiner would have been confident his in-form Craiglea Knight would make it three, but had to be content with two after a striking victory by hot-tip Now Ming.
Another strong supporter of local racing, Angela Stephens went home happy after Valhulla drove home to score in the Class 3 third race.
Star Chariot set the tone for a nice day of racing with a top win in the first on the card.
Piloted nicely by Bundaberg jockey Wayne Schmidt, Star Chariot flashed home down the straight to defeat local hope Beat the Rush.
In the second, favourite Royal Solair had to work hard for his win, edging out a fast-finishing Another Tune by a neck. Ridden by top apprentice Chris McIver, Royal Solair looked vulnerable 150 metres out, but held on to beat Another Tune.
Valhulla justified his very short price with a nice victory in the Class 3 handicap.
But it didn't come easily with the run of second-placed Errol Street definitely the run of the day.
Errol Street drew barrier five of five and ran the majority of the 1194 metre distance five-wide as the field set a cracking tempo.
But Valhulla knuckled down when it counted and was punched to the line by jockey John Stephens to win by a longneck.
And those punters who backed the hot on-course tip of Now Ming were rewarded when the John Sherwood-trained four-year-old edged out Craiglea Knight by half a length in the feature Class 5 handicap.