Apprentice boots Quality Fair home to firm for Plate
Consistent sprinter Quality Fair will be considered for this Sunday’s $75,000 Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m) after an eye-catching victory in last week’s Eyerite Signs Handicap (1230m) at Percy Spencer Racecourse.
Quality Fair came into the race having won four of his 21 career starts and had run a luckless fifth in the TABtouch Regional Championship Final in November, but this was his first win in open company after twice finishing third to My Greek Boy in Albany this season.
Prepared by Paul Hunter, the six-year-old attracted some support in the even field of 11 runners and jumped an $8 chance on the tote before established apprentice Casey Hunter settled him at the tail in running.
The field fanned in the home straight allowing the Trade Fair gelding to surge up the inside as Casey Hunter went to work, finding plenty late and defeating Bindaree Lady by half a length.
Rowie filled third place while $4 favourite Spin Da Wheels finished sixth, and could never make up the ground with a heavy 60kg impost.
It was a strong victory for Quality Fair, against a host of in-form sprinters including Spin Da Wheels and Rowie, who had form lines coming out of the listed Bunbury Stakes and Pinjarra Classic respectively.
“He’s been an awkward horse (to place) and has probably paid for his consistency,” Paul Hunter said.
“That was a good win and that’s about his level.
“He can really rattle off a sectional when he’s on but he’s done a good job.
“We’ll have a look at the Fitz-patrick, he’s probably not top class but you have to have a look at a race like that.”
Casey Hunter rode a double in the 10-race program on Thursday after also booting home Kronstadt. She has now skipped clear in the Great Southern Apprentices’ Premiership with victories ahead of Fiona Bell (four wins).
“I’m pretty happy to be in front,” she said.
“Being from Albany, it’s something I do want to win and hope-fully I can get a few more winners.”
Fitzpatrick Plate fancies My Greek Boy and last year’s winner Run Liam Run both tuned up for this season’s rich sprint feature with a 1000m trial on Thursday.
Run Liam Run, ridden by Lisa Staples, clocked 59.23 seconds to win the trial by a short neck over My Greek Boy, who was handled by Shaun McGruddy.
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