Levonas produces dazzling debut
James Rogers celebrated his first winner in almost a decade in style after four-year-old Levonas made a promising debut at Percy Spencer Racecourse last Thursday.
Levonas jumped a $6.60 chance on the tote in the small field of seven runners and settled just off the speed for jockey Shaun McGruddy before producing a terrific sprint in the home straight to demolish his rivals.
The Statue Of Liberty gelding ran around greenly at the top of the straight before putting his mind to the task and kicking clear to beat Desert Thorn by 4½ lengths on the line in the Get The TABtouch Maiden (1240m).
Rogers, who previously trained in Kalgoorlie, last saddled up a winner in 2009 and was bullish about the future for Levonas.
“I am just relieved,” Rogers said.
“I’ve had a lot of issues with him, he is always hurting himself.
“I haven’t had a saddle on him for nearly two weeks and a big thanks to Paul Hunter for the generous use of his pool, without that he wouldn’t be here.
“Once he learns what it’s about he will be a pretty smart horse, he’s done that on natural ability today.”
That victory was the start of a big day for McGruddy as he shot back to the lead in the Great Southern Jockeys’ Premiership.
The experienced hoop finished with 31/2 winners on the eight-race card after also tasting success aboard Captivated Point, Big Caroline and Its Not Trading.
Big Caroline was a dead heat winner with Blizzard Express in a desperately close finish to the BP Roadhouse Williams Handicap (1100m).
McGruddy charged home along the inside rail to hit the line in sync with leader Blizzard Express, ridden by Matthieu Autier, and the judge could not split the pair in the photo.
Hostwin Pegasus finished third, beaten a long head, while Long Knife was fourth by a short neck and Niccatrice was a long neck away in fifth.
The big day shot McGruddy above the suspended Mitchell Pateman (11 wins) to the top of the jockey premiership standings with 12.5 wins to his name.
Captivated Point scored back-to-back victories after a dominant display in the Aqua Ice Handicap (1240m), to continue his terrific record in Albany with five wins from eight starts at the track.
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