The inaugural running of the $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m) for NSW country sprinters was won by the long shot John Shelton trained Belflyer who came with a straight-long sprint down the middle of the track under Adam Hyeronimus.
Belflyer and Adam Hyeronimus, picture Sportpix.com.au
With no traffic problems Hyeronimus launched the Grafton based seven-year-old gelding, who last won in April, from the 400m on a sustained sprinter that took them clear by the 100m to win with a 1/2L margin over Suncraze (Henrythenavigator) and Corey Brown.
Awesome Pluck (Pluck) and Tim Clark were third with the Jenny Graham trained runner only making the field late in the week.
The time was 1.12.01 on the Heavy 9 track with the final 600m in 37.12. Belflyer rocked punters paying $71.00 on fixed odds and $54.20 on the tote. The $3.10 favourite Don’t Give A Damn was fourth.
“I’ve never had a bigger buzz and never will have a bigger buzz than this. It’s just fantastic,” said Shelton.
“I love this horse. He’s a special horse. For Adam to win on him was a really big bonus because he was apprenticed to me and we’ve remained really true friends. Feel a little bit for Benny Looker who is his normal rider but he went elsewhere. It’s just the biggest thrill I’ve ever had.”
“This is so good. To ride it for John makes it even better,” said Hyeronimus
“I was apprenticed to John for the start of my apprenticeship. Ever since I left Grafton, to this day we speak every day.”
“Ever since they announced the race his plan has been executed perfectly toward this.
“After the Ramornie things probably didn’t go his way in races. I went to ride him in Brisbane one day and things didn’t quite work out but he still ran good.
“John has done a perfect job with him. He knew he was ready to go and he was so confident in him.”
“He travelled so sweetly. He jumped great and I had to hold on to him and put him into a spot. I thought three wide with cover was our spot. I wanted to give him clear room coming into the straight which I did.
“The biggest thing was John said ‘don’t get there too early’. As it panned out I was there at the furlong. He was going up and down and I’m bouncing all over his back. I looked up and thought ‘c’mon, where is the winning post!’ Everything worked out though,” he added.
Belflyer is by Bel Esprit out of the Rubiton mare Flying Ruby and this was his 13th win from 55 starts. With 14 placings he has now won stakes of $960,305 for owners Mr T M Hogan, Mr I C Hogan, Mr R G Rideout, Mrs S Hogan, Ms G C Anderson, Mrs J C Hogan and B P C Thoroughbreds.
The Kosciuszko, photo finish picture ATC
What the beaten jockeys said:
Tye Angland (The Monstar): “It’s too heavy for him, he likes the wet but by the time I got outside the leader I thought I did it easy enough, but he dropped the bit on me straight away, he never travelled. When you don’t travel on that sort of track you can’t quicken.”
Jason Collett (Sharpe Hussler): “Struggled most of the way.”
Robert Thompson (After All That): “Bit too heavy for him today, his wheels were just spinning all the way, but he was honest.”
Ben Looker (Victorem): “His run was good, but his wheels were just spinning in it, had a nice enough run, I had the winner outside me, he just couldn’t get into his rhythm around that side were it’s chopping out now, but his run was good.”
Kerrin McEvoy (Don't Give A Damn): “He just sort of took 100m to warm up and get into his stride and we ended up getting a spot after about a furlong or so, handled the ground okay, just was level late in that ground.”
Corey Brown (Suncraze): “He ran super, put on a different sort of character between the 600m and the 300m, but once he stuck to his guns he hit the line good.”
Brenton Avdulla (Snitz): “He just didn’t go through the ground.”
Mitchell Bell (Ruthless Agent): “Travelled great through the going, as soon as I came off the bridle he just didn’t find anything on that sort of track, the 1200m was probably a little bit sharp for him.”
Jay Ford (Fuel): “Found a good spot in transit, but when I let his head go he really struggled in the conditions.”
Brooke Sweeney (O' So Hazy): “She kept trying and sticking her nose out, she did well and will go for a well earned rest now."
Tim Clark (Awesome Pluck): “Ran well, he actually settled nicely and gave me a good ride throughout, came through to win, just first up on that ground he felt the pinch late.”