The first of the two major races at this year’s July Carnival in Grafton was on Wednesday won by Peter Snowden’s quality mare Jerezana, who handed Darley’s head trainer back-to-back wins in the Ramornie Handicap.
Twelve months ago Snowden won the event with Pinwheel and was over the moon when Lonhro four-year-old Jerezana bounced back with an upset victory in this year’s $130,000 Listed WHK Ramornie Handicap (1200m).
“It’s a great race to win and to be able to win it twice in a row gives me a big buzz,” Snowden said having watched the race from Warwick Farm.
It was an impressive return to form for Jerezana, the mare having previously finished a well-beaten 13th behind Born To Rock in the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m) at Ipswich on June 18.
Jumping from barrier six with Andrew Gibbons in the mount, Jerezana was one of the last horses away and settled at the back of the field, allowing the likes of the well-backed favourite Motspur and Here De Angels, who jumped beautifully, to set the early pace.
Once on the straight, a number of the Ramornie runners started to make their move including Lifebuoy up on the outside while The Sixties flew up the centre.
It was Jerezana ($8.50), however, who produced the run of the race coming from last to first down the outside with an explosive turn of foot to defeat the Liam Birchley-trained roughie Falco Star ($41) by a length while Kris Lees’ Motspur ($4.60) battled on well to finish a narrow third just a short-head further away.
Drawcard contender, dual Stradbroke Handicap winner Black Piranha, found the slow pace and hefty 61kg weight allocation too much and could only manage to finish two lengths from the winner in fifth.
Winning jockey Gibbons described the Ramornie Handicap triumph with Jerezana as the biggest of his career so far, the win his 50th for the season.
“It’s my best win by far, it’s fantastic,” he said after the race.
“I spoke to (fellow jockey) Kerrin McEvoy and Peter Snowden and I had a lot of confidence in what they told me.
“She has an unbelievable last 200 (metres) but you can’t push the button too early so I bided my time and it worked out perfectly.”
Snowden was equally impressed with the performance and the way Gibbons rode Jerezana on Wednesday.
“Everything went perfect,” he said.
“She was able to stay in touch, even at the back of the field she wasn’t that far from them.
“Andrew was able to cut the corner and get to the outside which she likes to do.
“If she can be saved for one short, sharp burst invariably she runs well and that was the case today.
“Everything just panned out for her.
“She’s been stakes-placed on two occasions (2nd in the 2010 Crown Promenade Stakes at Flemington and the 2010 Glenlogan Park Stakes at Doomben) so to get a stakes win today is very good.
“She’s not top notch but she’s very honest and she’s done a full campaign.
“If she hadn’t run so bad at Ipswich last start I would have sent her to the paddock and not gone to Grafton at all,” Snowden said.
“I didn’t want to finish on such a bad note so we brought her home and her work was still very strong so we decided to head up to Grafton.
“Once I saw the field I thought there was only four or five genuine chances and if she got luck, which she needs because of the way she races, she would be right in the mix.
“They went hard and she got a lovely run through the field, she was only a couple of lengths off the leaders and hadn’t spent a penny.”
The Darley-owned Jerezana has now won five of her 17 career starts for $297,700 in prize money.
After the Ramornie win targeting her at some of the better races during the upcoming Sydney Spring Racing Carnival is certainly tempting for connections, but Snowden hinted at retirement plans for Jerezana instead.
“She has got a black type, she is stakes placed, there is not much more she has to prove,” he said.