Sagwitch Seals Championship

Sagwitch Seals Championship

Mac Henry

Sagwitch sealed victory in the Southern Country Cups Championship for 2018-19 with a dynamic win the penultimate race of the series.

Success in the Winton Businesses Cup at the Central Southland Raceway on Saturday took the Syd Breen-trained son of Lis Mara to 90 points. Closest to him on both the points table and in Saturday’s race was Vintage Cheddar but the four-year-old’s effort left him 40 points in arrears. The maximum points available in the $25,000 Regent Car Court Handicap, final race of the series on 27 April, is 34.

The series winner receives a $6,000 bonus prize. Sagwitch finished second to Royal Bengal last year and Breen said that prompted his decision to target the series this season. The Cromwell Businesses Cup on 6 January is the only series race Sagwitch has missed.

Driver Mark Hurrell has been in the sulky in all of the series races except the Waikouaiti Cup.

“I’ve won three on him,” Hurrell said. “His starts from a stand have improved a lot through the season, he made a good beginning today. I drive him for a sit, he goes best with a good pace, they went a good time today, and it helped.”

The win marked a big turn-around in fortune following the five-year-old’s lack-lustre sixth of nine at Ascot Park last week.

“He went poor at Invercargill, felt flat, it wasn’t the smaller track, I’ve won on him there, as long as it’s a strong pace and he gets the right run, the size of the track doesn’t matter. I said to Sid about it, he gave him time off and freshened him for today.”

Sagwitch_winning_at_Winton_950_x_584.jpg Sagwitch and Mark Hurrell winning the 2019 Winton Cup – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Sagwitch_winning_at_Winton_950_x_584.jpgMark Hurrell and Sagwitch easily winning the Winton Cup – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Sagwitch_returning_at_Winton_950_x_693.jpg Heading to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Sagwitch_birdcage_Winton_950_x_681.jpgPaul Matheson and Syd Breen with the spoils – Photo Bruce Stewart.

Earlier in the day, Tulsa Jaccka showed special qualities in the Southern Standardbred Breeders Fillies and Mares pace. In the last two early, the Wayne Adams-trained three-year-old went forward 1200 metres out to sit parked three-wide and then had the audacity to explode clear on the turn.

“She’s always had high speed but showed a bit of toughness today, I didn’t think she could do that,” said Adams who is likely to target a Ladyship Final next with the Charlie and Ailsa Smaill bred and owned son of Twilight Franco who in 2012 was also an Adams winner at Winton.

Tulsa Jaccka was driven by Nathan Williamson who gained another win two races later aboard Tartan Trilogy. He is trained locally by Chelsea Faithful who scored again at the end of the programme with Toby O’Gara to give her three training wins for the season.

The first was also with Tartan Trilogy, a couple of months ago at Forbury Park. The nine-year-old, raced by Faithfuls’ grandparents Norm and Bev Cox, is raced on lease from his breeder Dr Onn Chin of Mosgiel. He is from Chin’s good mare Tartan Lady who was prepared by Faithful’s father Ray to win ten races including the group two 1998 Southland Oaks and group one 1999 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes.

Life at stud hadn’t been easy for Tartan Lady and in 2008 she had hernia of the diaphragm which could have proved fatal. However Invercargill veterinarian Brendon Bell operated successfully and after a year off, she foaled Tartan Trilogy without a problem.

He was trained for his first 34 starts by Goff and Jude Knight, winning at Forbury Park in March 2014 and running his ‘last’ race in August that year. Nearly 17 months after his retirement, Tartan Trilogy resumed his career at Wyndham in early 2016 from the barn of Trevor Proctor where Faithful was helping out. Later in the year, Faithful gained her licence and took over Tartan Trilogy’s training.

Toby O’Gara was bred by Ross and Robyn Jones and trained initially by their son in law Nathan Williamson. The Jones have since been joined in the ownership of the five-year-old by Faithful who has trained him since November. His 10 starts for her have yielded the win, a second and three thirds.

Paddyproudfoot was having just his third start when winning the Woodlands Stud Colts and Geldings Pace in a smart 2:57.6, but they had been well spread. Runner-up in them both, the four-year old’s first tries were in September 2017 and 2018.

After the victory, winning driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay was quick to acknowledge the patients of connections.

“He got a bad virus as a three-old-old and then a hairline fracture of a pastern,” she revealed.