Coome's winning double has race fans jumping for joy
AS if spurred on by the screams of their enthusiastic owners, local trainer Lee Kiernan's Tsigane's Lad and Base Jump scored exciting wins at Gladstone's Ferguson Park racecourse on Saturday.
Before a sell-out crowd, premier Rockhampton and Mackay jockey Adrian Coome was at his brilliant best on both winners.
Always forwardly placed in the Maiden Plate (850m), Tsigane's Lad ($5.00) shared the lead into the home straight before engaging in a fight with stablemate Splash Of Class (Dale Evans, $7.00-$6.00) and then late-comer Legal Dancer (Carly-Mae Pye, $5.50).
Ridden hard by Coome and cheered on by vocal owners David Weinert, Dennis Simon, Dave Thomsen, Brian Petersen, Ken O'Dowd and Greg Wakeley, Tsigane's Lad held on to win by a half-length from Legal Dancer.
The winning owners, all with close ties to Gladstone racing, comprise the F.Troop Syndicate which was formed a few years ago but has since had only limited success.
While admitting the win was a pleasant surprise, Petersen said "a winner is a winner".
The owners of Base Jump were just as vocal after their horse claimed the $7000 Class B (1517m).
Again it was Coome's guile in placing Base Jump ($2.70) in a handy early trailing position behind leader and subsequent runner-up Rytarga (Dale Evans, $2.70) that was the determining factor.
Suspect at the distance after coming off two recent placings over 1050m and 1100m, Base Jump seemed to take an eternity before passing Rytarga within 75m of the post.
Base Jump (Bel Esprit-Above the Edge) is raced by syndicate manager Sam Steinhardt, her husband Troy and brother Adam Skerman, Brian Meggit, Roberta Spencer, Grant Olson and trainer Kiernan.
"This is only my second winner as Base Jump won for us at Yeppoon in August. It is unreal," Sam Steinhardt said.
Earlier, newly-relocated Rockhampton trainer Ashleigh Geddes enjoyed the thrill of leading in her first winner when Fomal Winter (Alexandra Kitson, $5.00) easily won the Class 1 (850m).
Geddes, 20, moved from Bundaberg to Rockhampton two months ago and now has three horses in work, having been training for just one year.
Premier Rockhampton apprentice Carly-Mae Pye was in striking form on Saturday, providing Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner with a winning double courtesy of Get Ditty With It ($2.00) and Twogundan ($2.50).
The Gladstone Turf Club will host a morning meet on Melbourne Cup Day, allowing jockeys to then travel to Rockhampton for the afternoon meeting.
"The atmosphere will be electric by the time the Melbourne Cup is run," club president David Weinert said.
"It will be a big turnout of Gladstone racegoers, some just once-a-year punters and they will be well catered for at Ferguson Park."
Weinert reminded trainers that race entries close on Wednesday at 11am.