Jimmy scores all the way Cup win
Trainer-driver Ryan Bell has continued his strong association with the Albany Cup after claiming the 2017 edition as a reinsman, partnering with red-hot favourite Our Jimmy Johnstone on Saturday night at Harold Reid Paceway.
Bell won the race as a trainer in 2012 with Greyhawk and then backed that triumph up in 2013 when he drove Adda Paternal Suit to victory for trainer Andrew De Campo.
The Greg and Skye Bond-trained Our Jimmy Johnstone started a raging $1.60 favourite in this year’s Albany Harness Racing Club feature and began brilliantly from gate six on the front line to lead on the first corner.
From there Bell dictated terms in front and then sprinted clear on the final lap to lead all the way and score a comfortable victory by 31.2m in the Group 3 $30,000 GWN Albany Cup (2683m).
Last start Gloucester Park winner Talktomeurmattjesty ($2.60 tote chance) held on for second over veteran Shardons Rocket and fellow Bond runner Courage Tells.
Bell praised the performance of the eight-year-old, who has now won 23 of his 69 career starts and earned $484,787 in stake money.
“Once we did get across that easy it was always going to be home for him,” Bell said post-race.
“He travelled a bit strong for my liking but he was still too good for them in the end.
“He’s been an absolute marvel this horse and just gives it his all every time.”
The Bond stable finished with a winning double at the final AHRC meeting of the season, after Messi claimed the Albany Finance Car Dealers Pace (2683m).
Driven by Mitchell Miller, the three-year-old crunched into $1.10 and proved too strong at the finish to beat Ariki by 4.1m.
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis, driving in Albany for the first time, also notched a winning double with Trust My Judgement and Haveacrackadda.
Trust My Judgement won by 7m in the West Coast Livestock Pace (2258m) before a Lewis masterstroke got Albany pacer Haveacrackadda over the line in a thrilling end to race 6.
In the overall AHRC season awards, Albany-based trainer Matthew Saw won the trainers’ premiership with 53 points edging out the Bond camp (45 points).
Trent Wheeler (61) claimed the tight drivers’ premiership from Miller (54) and Madeleine Young (44).
Miller was the club’s leading junior driver with nine winners in the season and Haveacrackadda, trained by Chris Playle, was the leading club pacer with four victories from 11 starts.
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