Winning double puts Bell in frame for apprentice title
Vastly improved young jockey Fiona Bell has made a late charge for the leading Great Southern apprentice title after notching a winning double at the penultimate meeting of the 2016-17 season at Percy Spencer Racecourse last week.
Bell, who claims 1.5kg on the provincial tracks, sat three wins behind current leader Albany’s own Casey Hunter going into last Thursday’s seven-race card, but she partnered Force Element and Spin Da Wheels to victory to keep the title race alive.
Force Element was put in a lovely position just off the speed by Bell in the Community Tab Support Albany 10th Light Horse Handicap (1100m) and the six-year-old kicked strongly on the inside in the home straight to down the fast-finishing Miss Kitwe by a nose.
Bell then secured a race-to-race double when the well-fancied Spin Da Wheels from the Boyanup stables of Michael Lane rocketed through the centre of the track to claim the Tabtouch War Horse At The Race Course Handicap (1240m).
Settling at the tail of the eight-horse field, the $3 favourite cruised up behind the field on the home corner for Bell and she was patient before angling him through a gap and then sprinting clear to beat Quality Fair by 1 ¾ lengths on the line.
Lane paid credit to Bell for her tactics aboard the classy six-year-old, who broke a 371-day winning drought.
“It was a great ride,” Lane said.
“She’s done a lot of work on him as a young horse so it’s great she can win on him today.
“Considering how much racing he’s had, it’s a credit to him ... to still be racing well.” Lane said his gelding would now be spelled ahead of a winter campaign at Belmont Park.
The double lifts Bell to six wins and one behind Hunter in the Great Southern Apprentice Jockey premiership ahead of the final meeting in Albany on Thursday.
Albany trainer Jonathon Jachmann continued his strong local season with a sixth winner when impressive three-year-old Sondheim won the Amazing Albany In Autumn Handicap (1240m) for fellow apprentice hoop Randy Tan.
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