Pingrup pair produce the goods
The small country town of Pingrup has a strong racing flavour, holding an annual race meeting once a year since 1932 at its iconic track.
But on Friday at the Mt Barker Turf Club, it was a pair of Pingrup trainers that were all the rage after both tasted success on the seven-race card.
Gordon Keay and Alan Smith, who strapped runners for each other, secured victories for their small hometown with Pure Gem and Morgs Freeman respectively.
Pure Gem, having his seventh start for Keay, narrowly went down first-up but at his third run this campaign relished to jump in distance to win the Autumn Break Handicap (1850m).
Starting favourite in the field of eight, Pure Gem was given just that — a gem by jockey Mitchell Pateman. He urged the four-year-old home in the final 200m to gobble up leaders Big Summer and Grinding Hard and hold off the rapidly closing Cleo’s Afterparty by half a length at the line.
With solid form as a two-year-old for Daniel Morton, Pure Gem has now won two of 17 career starts but Keay said he is developing into a nice provincial staying type.
“He was a bit flat second-up but he’s always wanted ground,” Keay said.
Smith’s only runner at the meeting was Morgs Freeman and the promising three-year-old unleashed a superb finishing burst to claim the Primaries Wool Handicap (1300m).
Morgs Freeman was settled last from his wide draw by jockey Matthieu Autier and then came from 11th on the home corner to charge down the outside and nail What About Moses by a neck on the line.
After breaking his maiden status in Albany last month, Smith was bullish on his Playing God gelding going forward.
“He’s getting there but he’s a nice little horse,” Smith said.
“We had to go back today because we drew the outside but I knew we’d be running home strongly and I think there is plenty of upside there.”
Autier finished with a winning double at Mt Barker after earlier guiding Like Him A Bit to victory in maiden company.
Like Him A Bit was the first of two winners for Albany trainer Jonathon Jachmann with Fulzip also saluting to end a couple of frustrating campaigns having not won since 2016.
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