Former Brisbane trainer, the now Gold Coast-based Peter Balzen celebrated his second feature win at his local track with promising two-year-old Big Tree scoring an upset win in the Ken Russell Memorial Classic 2015 on A.D. Hollindale Stakes Day.
Markets for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Moreton Hire Ken Russel Memorial Classic (1200m) were firmly led by Gai Waterhouse’s filly Regatta Rebel through Ladbrokes.com.au.
She ran second on a mud Sydney track on debut behind Furnaces in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes, and was short odds from her nice barrier four draw to win second-up in the Ken Russell in Queensland.
Jockey Blake Shinn had the favourite first out of the gates pinging away well along with the locally-trained duo of Big Tree and Redsson who were also fast from the barriers.
It was 61-1 outsider Big Tree who took up the lead, the Michael Cahill-ridden Snitzel colt happy to set the strong pace ahead of Regatta Rebel who was tracking second on the outside.
With 400m to go at the top of the straight Big Tree was tackled by Regatta Rebel, but he simply wouldn’t let her past.
There were plenty of chances over the closing stages with some sweeping runs home, but failing to give up was the deserving winner Big Tree ($61) in front of the previously undefeated Liam Birchley-trained market mover Blueberry Hill ($7)
Regatta Rebel ($2.40) was also far from disgraced running third, despite looming up like she was going to do something on the home turn.
Cahill simply bounced to the lead early with Big Tree, held off the challengers and ran home very strongly in an all-the-way win that could see the Gold Coast galloper head up to Brisbane chasing more winter riches next.
“Five mintues of stardom!” Balzen said post-win.
“We bred the horse, it’s like one of your kids, so really excited.
“Michael said he really liked his trials, so that always makes your world.
“(He was in) the express lane!”
Balzen’s other notable Gold Coast winner was Tiger Hill mare Punch On who won the $1 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) as a filly here back in 2012.
Now he could have a genuine Group 1 contender in Big Tree, the Ken Russell Memorial Classic an early lead-up to the $600,000 Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at Doomben on Stradbroke Day, June 6, for those juveniles that prove themselves over more ground.
The last horse to complete the Ken Russell – JJ Atkins double was Sizzling, who also won the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) and Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on way back in 2012.
The 2015 Champagne Classic on Doomben Cup Day, May 9, and the BRC Sires’ this year on May 23 could also be on Big Tree’s winter agenda.
To get behind your favourites in the upcoming Brisbane feature races over the winter at the guaranteed best price, visit Ladbrokes.com.au and don’t forget to quote the code BETBONUS when you make your first deposit to have it matched 100% up to $250!
2015 Ken Russell Memorial Classic Results & Finishing Order
Gold Coast Race 6 – 25/04/2015
|1||7||BIG TREE||Peter Balzen||Michael Cahill||–||2||57kg||$61|
|2||10||BLUEBERRY HILL||Liam Birchley||Larry Cassidy||0.3L||8||55kg||$7|
|3||12||REGATTA REBEL||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||0.5L||3||55kg||$2.40F|
|4||11||LOOK TO THE STARS||Clarry Conners||Luke Tarrant (a)||0.7L||7||55kg||$9|
|5||9||MADOTTI||Matthew Dunn||Glen Colless||1.1L||13||55kg||$17|
|6||4||THE WILDMAN||Mick Mair||Tegan Harrison||2.1L||4||57kg||$18|
|7||15||VALUCHY||Clarry Conners||Jim Byrne||2.6L||9||55kg||$17|
|8||14||MILITARY MISS||Gillian Heinrich||Ric McMahon||3.6L||12||55kg||$51|
|9||17e||ONE MORE MAGIC||Kim Craft||Jason Taylor||3.9L||11||55kg||$81|
|10||3||MONTANA STAR||Stuart Kendrick||Daniel Griffin||4.9L||5||57kg||$31|
|11||13||DENPURR||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||5.4L||10||55kg||$8|
|12||5||REDSSON||Bruce W Hill||Matthew McGuren (a)||5.6L||6||57kg||$10|
|13||6||LIKE A RULER||Danny J Bougoure||Paul Hammersley||6.9L||1||57kg||$61|
|–||16||TYPING||Stuart Kendrick||Glen Boss||–||0||–||–|
|–||1||WICKED INTENT||Chris Munce||Damian Browne||–||0||–||–|
|–||8||ARROGANT BOY||Gillian Heinrich||Damien Oliver||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||SAMPEAH||John O’Shea||Hugh Bowman||–||0||–||–|