The win of Sour Mash (IRE) in the $70,000, Metropolitan Civil Contractors Bm 85 Handicap (2200m) was tinged with sadness at Warwick Farm on Saturday with one of the part-owners Ben Wright passing away on Friday.
Wright had been a supporter of Chris Waller’s Rosehill stable for some five years and he was a regular racegoer thoroughly enjoying his racing and ownership in many of Waller’s runners. Jockey Corey Brown wore a black armband in respect for Wright’s passing.
Sour Mash (IRE) and Corey Brown carry a black armband for the late Ben Wright, picture Sportpix.com.au
Sour Mash upheld his part of the stable’s recognition of Wright with a tough all the way win to make it two wins from three races, with a second at Rosehill in between, for the progressive imported stayer.
Brown had confidence in the Danehill Dancer five-year-old gelding taking him to the lead from the outset. For 1600m of the trip they were attended by Dawnfire Dancer and Tommy Berry and these two left the field to their own tempo 3L back.
Eventually the field closed with 450m to run, but Sour Mash (55.5kg) was not distracted by a few challengers.
Passing the 300m Sour Mash was 3/4L in front as Harry Trimbole (NZ) (54.5kg) and Christian Reith took over leading the field’s challenge to the leader. With 200m to run the margin was 1L and at the line the field was still 3/4L adrift.
Southern Shimmer (54kg) (Southern Image) and Robert Thompson passed Harry Trimbole (Danske) for second with the margin 1 3/4L.
The time was 2.18.20 on the upgraded Dead 5 track for a new class record, the second of the programme, with the final 600m in 37.58. Sour Mash paid $2.50 on NSW TAB as favourite.
“It was a fitting win today with one of the part-owners and long-time supporter of Chris with plenty of horses in our stable, Ben Wright, unfortunately passed away yesterday morning,” said Liam Prior, racing manager for Waller.
“It was upsetting for all the staff because he has been a big supporter of our stable and he loves his horses and he was always at the races. It was a shock and it is always sad when you lose someone.
“Sour Mash was unlucky last start but Chad rode him well. The instructions were the same again today to go forward and Corey rode him brilliantly in front and it was a good win,” he said
“It is a special moment, you love the man, and it is sad to see that he is not here anymore. I was just proud to wear the black armband for him,” said Brown.
“A very nice horse. His win was probably a little bit better than what it looked. They really stuck in the whole race. I thought I had come this far and I would let him roll and try and pinch a bit of a break. He does not have much of a dash about him but he will grind it out all day.
“Next time in when the penny really drops he will win a nice race or two,” he said.
Sour Mash, out of the Arch mare Landmark, was winning for the fourth time and with two second places from 15 starts he has earned overall stakes of $122,789 for owners that include Neil Werrett, part-owner of Black Caviar, F Cook, I Bruce, P Dykes, B Mathieson, J Pritchard, D Smith, R Smith, and K Warriner.
Apprentice Lauri Wray won her fifth race in the city for the season when she guided Zakynthos Imprintz to win the $70,000, Shimano Fishing Bm 84 Handicap (1400m).
Wray’s 3kg claim came in handy to lighten the 58.5kg load but she showed maturity to settle Zakynthos Imprintz in third and not be distracted when the field fanned off the turn. Wray stayed close to the inside and when a gap came with 300m to run she sent Zakynthos Imprintz forward to lead from the 200m.
They had a head advantage at the line over From The Vault (54kg ) (Charge Forward) and Christian Reith with Nothing Like Luca (53kg) and apprentice Josh Adams third, the margin a neck.
Zakynthos Imprintz is trained by Gary Hickson on the course and this was his sixth win from 23 starts.