Racing Orange Ltd. held their Showcase race meeting last Friday 13th April 2018. It was definitely a case of unlucky for some as J.W. Kelly Suffolk Vale & Company’s four-year-old bay gelding BASE CAMP stamped his authority on the second race of the day, the XXXX Gold Benchmark 55 Handicap over the mile journey.
BASE CAMP had been given the top weight of 61kgs and drawn barrier five out of a possible nine. The jockey, Bobby El-Issa had only ridden the horse once before in a barrier trial at Hawkesbury in August 2016 prior to BASE CAMP’s first race start. The drying conditions leading up to race day had the track condition rated as a Good 3.
It would be a tough ask for the son of Moysater, giving his competitors 2.5kgs or more and stepping up to the 1600 metres of the event. Given that BASE CAMP had to carry a big weight, the plan was to give the horse as easier run as possible with the hope that he could emulate his previous victory at Bathurst over 1400 metres, where he settled back in the field and finished over the top of them.
The field jumped, BASE CAMP was a bit slow out but after they had gone 100 metres Bobby had settled his mount in fifth position, two of the fence, a few lengths of the leader, known frontrunner Oskastar (that horse had run second to BASE CAMP’s younger sister Staggering at Bathurst two starts earlier) and travelling comfortably.
On toward the 1200 metres marker, Oskastar and increased it’s lead to one and a half lengths. At this stage, the jockey aboard BASE CAMP had allowed his horse to settle where he was comfortable, bowling along approximately five lengths off the pace in between horses.
With about 1000 metres left to run, the leader, maintaining a strong pace, was now two and a half lengths in front. Bobby had upped his tempo slightly, Dungannon on his outside had the same idea and kept BASE CAMP on his inside, in a tricky spot. Passing the 800 metres pole, Oskastar was coming back to the rest of the field, Bobby was biding his time, still two horses off the fence and going nicely, Dungannon still to his outside.
The 600 metres mark saw the jockey keeping his line and closing in on the leaders, the duo were now only two lengths off them and preparing for the run for home. Rounding the home turn, it was Fraternater hitting the front. Bobby El-Issa had moved BASE CAMP one horse further out, giving them an uninterrupted run to the finish line.
Once into the home straight and balanced, the jockey began urging his mount along, 150 metres out BASE CAMP was just off the leader and issuing a strong challenge, the early leader Oskastar was tiring on the rail.
They were inside the last 100 metres now, BASE CAMP had forged clear, Bobby put the whip away with 50 metres to go and the pair coasted past the winning post one and a half lengths in front of Fraternater with the Noel Mayfield-Smith-trained Deny getting home nicely in third placing.
Congratulations to the owners, your well-performed horses are a credit to you. Well done to the team at Singleton Racing and acknowledgements of Bobby El-Issa’s prowess in the saddle. We hope your successes continue in the future.