Jabali delivers golden win
By Jonny Turner
Jabali delivered his owners Ross and Dianne Hope a 50th wedding anniversary present when scoring a deserved win at Ascot Park yesterday.
The Hopes had patiently waited for a win with Jabali, who had gone some big races leading in to race 4.
The ten-year-old pacer’s timing was impeccable when he outmuscled his opposition to win just a day after the Rimu couple’s golden wedding anniversary.
“A few people have congratulated us today and yesterday,” Ross Hope said.
“We always expected him to do it, it hadn’t worried us, but we knew it was coming.”
“We had tried and tried to get a penalty free win with a junior driver and he had been beaten a nose a couple of times.
But, you have just got to take it as it comes.”
Jabali had produced some big runs in his recent starts when forced to sit parked.
He again landed the parked position for junior driver Sarah O’Reilly on Thursday.
“I thought ‘oh no he is going to be parked again’ but it worked out today.”
“Sometimes it has been unfortunate when he has been there.”
“I don’t know why sometimes they don’t let him go to the front because sometimes the horses he has sat beside have ended up chucking it in.”
Jabali has hit top form at a ripe age after the Hopes thought his career might be over.
“We thought he might be finished and we just had him in to work with the young horses.”
“But, I said to Dianne one day this horse is going alright and we kept going with him.”
“The racing doesn’t seem to take much out of him - today he was galloping around his paddock when he got home.
Robyns Playboy powered to the third win of his new campaign and broke the Ascot Park 2700m track record in another emphatic display yesterday.
The Ross and Chris Wilson trained pacer, labelled ‘The Beast From The East’ by his fans, took 0.3sec off the mark Isiah set in 2015 with his 3.19.8 winning time.
Driver Craig Ferguson admitted the five-year-old could have gone even faster if he had been pressured.
But there was little need to when the horse was more than four lengths in front in the straight.
“He was cruising – I could not have gone any slower,” Ferguson said.
Another brilliant performance came just two races later when talented trotting mare Dark Horse overcame a massive 50m handicap to win.
Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson gave a rare salute as he crossed the line after his mare overcame her huge back mark in her first start since March.
Earlier in yesterday’s programme, prominent owner Jean Feiss started what is set to be an exciting end to her week in style when Don Coyote won race 6 yesterday.
Feiss starts the hot favourite in Friday night’s Maurice Holmes Vase in the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Self Assured.
Purdon and Rasmussen initially had Don Coyote in their All Stars barn before Purdon recommended Feiss send the four-year-old to Gray.
“We have done this kind of thing before with Mark where he has sent horses down to me,” Gray said.
“I have liked him since he arrived, he is quite a nice horse.”
“He is probably six months away from his best, he has got a bit to learn,”