The 2019 renewal of the $160,000, Listed, GDSC Ramornie Handicap (1200m) had a major twist when Havasay (by Rothesay) recorded back-to-back victories in the popular winter feature staged at Grafton each July.
A 6-year-old gelding immediately associated with the Liam Birchley stable in Brisbane, Havasay was saddled-up by Gold Coast-based trainer Toby Edmonds for the second consecutive year under precisely the same circumstances and with exactly the same outcome.
Due to his involvement with the Aquanita Racing Stable scandal, Birchley is banned from starting any of his runners in New South Wales. The situation not only resulted in Edmonds being listed as trainer when Havasay landed the Ramornie Handicap last year, but also Bjorn Baker as the mentor of Crack Me Up when winning the 2017 Villiers Handicap in Sydney.
The major difference on this occasion is that Racing NSW applied a condition in which Havasay must now remain in the care of Edmonds for six months — a situation which was not in action when Havasay proved successful in last year's Ramornie, and nor after Crack Me Up scored his Villiers win.
In a blanket finish to this season’s Ramornie, Havasay came off a blistering speed set by Whypeeo to get his head in front in the very last stride and score from Star Boy (by Pluck), with Freddie Fox Trot (by Foxwedge) claiming third.
Illustrating the nature of the finish were the official margins of a nose from a long-neck, and by the first nine horses across the line finishing within two lengths of each other.
Starting prices on the event were $13.00 Havasay, $26.00 Star Boy and $26.00 Freddie Fox Trot.
Havasay is raced by Mr M A McLean, Mr K J Brosnan, Mr M R Gersekowski, Mr P T Gersekowski, Mr D B Atkinson, Mr R J Hayes, Mrs F L Hayes, Mr G H Howard, Mr J M Speers, Mr R Watson, Mr J R Watson, Mr J Watson, Mr M D Clough, Mr R C Picking, Mr P J Daniel, Mr T J Harry, Mr W J Ouston and Mr A C Major.
Having start No. 41, Havasay has now recorded nine wins and 11 placings for $582,950 in prizemoney.
While Edmonds will be on record as trainer of the Ramornie winner for the past two seasons, Birchley also already has two wins to his own name. He sent out Sir Breakfast and Rock Royalty to land the 2003 and 2015 renditions.