THE 2011 $10,000 Milne Bros/Case IH Pioneer Park Premierships came to an exciting climax at Pioneer Park in Emerald on Saturday with Barcaldine trainer Todd Austin taking out the $5000 award for the leading trainer, Mark Barnham winning the $2000 leading jockey award for the second consecutive year, and Dashing Doll winning the $3000 Horse of the Year award for her Bluff owner/trainer David Munns.
Munns leapt off the ground and punched the air when Dashing Doll came from well back to down a strong field of open company sprinters over the 1300 metres.
At that stage there was only one horse that could have tied with her for the Horse of the Year Award but when that horse, Classy Franky, finished out of the placings in the following event, the award was hers.
Group one winner of a few years back, Reining to Win, started the $4.40 favourite but never really got into the race and finished fifth.
Todd Austin was at Eagle Farm with stable runner Playtime so it was left to his father Ken to collect his $5000 cheque.
The Austin stable seldom goes home from any race meeting without at least one winner.
They had to wait until the last race on Saturday - the 1300 metre Class 4 Handicap - but the Stanley Watkin-ridden Catabolic certainly posted the win in emphatic style.
Watkin had him well placed back in the field early on and commenced his run coming to the 600 metre mark.
When heads turned for home there was only one horse you wanted to be on and the $3.50 favourite careered away from Mossbemad ($6) and Leica Zed ($9).
Ironically, Catabolic had also accepted for the meeting at Blackall until connections became aware that meeting had been "washed out".
Former Ipswich trainer Bill Trimble now has a small team of horses in work at Bluff and it didn't take him long to chalk up his first winner when Bayby Girl ($11) prevailed in a blanket finish in the 1200 metre Class B Handicap.
The judge took what would have seemed an eternity to connections of the runners involved to make his decision when five horses hit the line with less than a half length separating them.
Manager of Green Steel Emerald, Ray West, and his wife Theresa were all smiles when their horse Liberty Tycoon ($5) nosed out Anabeer ($13) and Power to Exceed ($4.60) in the 1000 metre Class 3 Handicap.
West's concern about Liberty Tycoon's ability to handle the rain-affected track were allayed with the horse's win and he could well be one to keep an eye on at upcoming Rockhampton TAB meetings.
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