Horse Running
Horse Running

RACE DAY: 800+ patrons enjoy day out at Pepperina Park

MORE than 800 patrons squeezed through the turnstiles at Pepperina Park racecourse on Saturday as the Clermont Race Club hosted its last meeting for the year.

After a long hard year of isolation, Clermont racegoers came out in big numbers with a big day at the races still on the top of the things to do list in Clermont.

The extremely well behaved COVID safe patrons were full of excitement.

Clermont Race Club president Billy Bell described the CFMEU Clermont Lightning race meeting as a “fantastic arvo and another great success for the club”.

“Everything about the day went to plan without a hitch and instilled what we already knew that Clermont loves their horse racing,” he said.

“There were no dramas or issues with our patrons throughout the day and everyone who attended played their role in keeping the event COVID Safe.

“It was so good to see hundreds of people enjoying themselves on the racecourse in Clermont and enjoying great country racing after such a tough year due to the world wide COVID-19 pandemic.”

The richest race on the program, the $16,000 QTIS Welcome Back to Races 1000 metre maiden handicap went to Emerald trainer Glenda Bell with Flash Hombre ($2.70) who combined with Elyce Smith to take out the event.

Smith hunted the speedy customer out of the barrier and never looked like being headed, rating the Bell trained runner to perfection and kicked away at the top of the straight to win by a widening five lengths.

Bell then made it a race to race double with Isis Jectile ($3.00) with Cody Collis in the saddle taking out the benchmark 45 handicap over 1000 metres.

Collis gave the Bell trained horse a perfect run in transit camping off the hot speed of race leader and second placegetter The Swell ($2.50), race favourite from Mackay trainer Manzelmann’s yard.

Collis, in a perfectly timed run, chased hard at the top of the straight and sailed to the line for a comfortable win in the end.

No meeting goes by at Pepperina Park in Clermont without Johnny Manzelmann in the winners circle.

He combined with Trinity Bannon to take benchmark 55 over 1200 metres with Harry Rocket ($4.40) in the most exciting finish of the day.

The Manzelmann runner held off western galloper Our Say and locally trained Flinders Deagon in a blanket finish.

Jenny Bell’s track specialist Flinders Deagon was extremely brave in defeat with a big weight with Emma Bell in the saddle only going down by 0.4 of a length.

No one was more overjoyed than Rodney Little who also trained a race to race double teaming up with the punters pin up girl Emma Bell.

She inflicted plenty of pain for the on-course bookmakers with a late race to race double firstly in the feature sprint the CFMEU Clermont lightning over 1200 metres With Boingo ($2.40) who displayed plenty of grit and determination to run away by a widening three lengths.

Rodney Little’s patience and perseverance paid off for the Ilfracombe trainer when Cheeky Chops repaid the stable’s faith in its ability by powering home to win the Class B Handicap over 1400 metres.

Cheeky Chops has been somewhat of an enigma but on Saturday Cheeky Chops proved to be the day when the Masihara gelding put its best hoof forward and did everything jockey Emma Bell asked for.

After Jumping cleanly and staying in touch with the field, the horse was able to build momentum prior to the turn and kick away from Bevan Johnson’s Barbican.

As the distance range increases and Cheeky chops continues to mature with racing, better wins are in store for the Rodney Little trained gelding.

The two wins brought her tally to 102 career wins and 15 individual wins at Pepperina Park at a strike rate of 32 per cent.

She continues to be a punters pin up at Pepperina Park giving her loyalists an early Christmas fill up.

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