IT may have been raining favourites at Doomben last Saturday, but it was a different story at Pioneer Park, Emerald, where punters endured a tough day at the office with not one favourite successful on the five-race card.
With only one Pioneer Park race meeting left to be conducted for 2011, the Milne Bros/Case IH Premierships are set to draw to an exciting conclusion at the next Emerald meeting on November 26.
Last Saturday Barcaldine trainer Todd Austin stormed to the lead in the $5000 trainer's award by landing a winning treble and now leads local trainer Ross Meek by three points with Rockhampton trainer Neil Boyle one point astern of Meek.
There are 16 horses with a chance of taking out the $3000 Horse of the Year award.
Austin's day got off to good start when Adrian Coome got $5 chance, Shagsine, home by a neck over the fast finishing Power To Exceed ($4) in the 1000m Class 3 Plate.
Third placing was filled by another $4 chance, Exalted Mollie. The $2.80 favourite, Dumuzi, failed to flatter and only beat one runner home.
Rockhampton trainer Ross Shannon had never started a horse at Pioneer Park before Saturday, but is likely to become a regular visitor after Nordic Warrior ($3.20) bolted in with the 1100m Maiden Plate.
Nordic Warrior was having his fifth race start and won by four lengths over Rosie's Bon Bon ($3.80) and Edgeroi Dixie ($3.50). Stars Are Born ($4) made it two Pioneer Park starts for two wins when she stormed home from back in the field to take out the 1200m Class B Handicap from Baymore ($5.50) and Outback Sapper ($4).
Stars Are Born is now well placed to claim Horse of the Year honours as there looks to be a nice race for her at Pioneer Park on November 26 and her Emerald form can't be faulted.
Another trainer making his first trip to Emerald was former leading jockey Ken Waller who is now based at Oakey.
Like Ross Shannon earlier in the day, he also landed a winner at his first trip to Pioneer Park when Benadecio ($4.40) scored in the Class 5 Handicap over 1300m.
Rogerrab went out with a big lead in the 1300m Open Handicap, but stopped quickly in the straight and the race was set up for the back markers to stake their claims.
Finishing the best was the Austin trained Secrets ($3.50) who had a length to spare over Gol ($4.20) and the $2.60 equal favourite, Forade, when they hit the line.
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