The routine Clairwood midweek meeting on 18 October will be recorded as a memorable milestone in the career of Apprentice Girish Goomamy. The eighteen year old in his second year at the SA Jockey Academy booted home his first winner when riding a sensible race in the second event on Raging River for Charles Laird.
The local lad was having only his fifth career ride after having ridden a fourth place at his very first ride on Wundabar at Scottsville on 6 September for Ashburton trainer Bart Rice.
Sean Veale partnered the fancied Yogas Govender trained Hail The King in the Contactim Maiden Plate over 1200m. The son of Western Winter was expected to go very close after he had run a forward race behind Dennis The Menace on debut. But Veale had not reckoned on his young colleague on the Surging River colt who came forward in the final 300m to win a great race. The half brother to Vertical Takeoff had run a fair fourth under Anton Marcus in early June but came out firing on all cylinders here.
It is early days but Goomamy appears to have the right attitude to make it in the tough world of professional race riding. He lists ‘battling to get race rides’ as one of his dislikes and declares his goal as a wish ‘to become champion jockey and to make lots of money.’ He sounds like he has chosen the right profession!
Charles Laird was the most successful trainer and enjoyed a treble on the day.After Goomamy’s win in the second, Aces High benefitted from an Anton Marcus jockey strike to shed his maiden in the fourth race. Having his fourth start, the son of Black Minnaloushe ran on well after Born To Buck had made the pace. The fancied Money Doesn’t Count ran on well for second at his first try around the turn and won’t be long in winning. Alec Laird’s Saratoga Magic had run two progressive seconds previously but was never in the hunt under Stuart Randolph. We await the Stipes Report with interest.
Laird’s third winner was the handsome Western Winter gelding Big Winter Chill who took the MR 78 Handicap over 1450m in his stride. The backed Donnington Park, who relocated from Leon Erasmus in Gauteng during September to Mark Dixon, showed good pace and looked dangerous up to the final 100m before folding for fourth place. Big Winter Chill showed that sprinting is not his game and looks a very progressive sort over a bit more ground.
The Dennis Drier team rounded off the afternoon with a great Alec Forbes double, that included the smart and still unbeaten filly, Torra Bay in the last. The daughter of Cape Cross had won her debut at unfancied odds in August and returned like an old pro to run this fair field of fillies and mares ragged. The unbeaten Mary Stuart showed toe from her inside draw but was the first horse down in the chase for home.
Forbes rode a cracker to get Cash Lord to rally late and catch the Var mare Lamorna in the dying strides of the eighth race. Derryl Daniels looked to have sewn things up on Michael Roberts’ mare, but Cash Lord had the undoubted benefit of the better ground under his hooves, and won a game race.
Paul Gadsby’s Black Wing was backed to odds-on in the five-horse third race, a Conditions Plate run over a mile. The pace, or lack of it, in this race bordered on the comical and every jockey here probably deserves a serious fine after all five of them hung on to their mounts for dear life with the field coming close to cantering and trotting as they went around the turn. Sean Veale eventually let Black Wing stride but the writing was on the wall at the 300m marker as Ian Sturgeon sent the underrated Antious down the inside rail to win easily. Both Thandolwami and Aslan were understandably never in it and those punters that followed the Gadsby stable confidence in the favourite would have felt aggrieved – even though small fields and a slow pace go hand in hand.