The four-year-old brown mare MORE SPICE showed real grit in winning the North West Farm Machinery Class 1 Showcase Handicap run over the mile at the Quirindi Jockey Club’s meeting which had been transferred to Scone due to infrastructure damage at that track. The mare must have enjoyed her short stroll to the track pre race … it would have been just like home.
MORE SPICE had been consistent so far this “prep” recording a win and a second placing from her previous three outings. The stormy weather had cleared out for the day, Stewards had declared the track rating as a Soft 6 with the running rail out 3 metres for the entire circuit.
Due to the step up in class, MORE SPICE had been “weighted” at 54kgs, she would jump from barrier seven out of the ten that had been allocated. Scone-based, 2018 Wallabadah Cup winning jockey Billy Cray had the mount … all was set for the day’s event.
A shortener in the betting, punters were expecting a good run from MORE SPICE. After opening at double figure odds early on, her price had firmed into $5.50, on the third line of betting behind the $3.20 favourite Discombe, trained by Jason Deamer at Newcastle and a visitor from Dubbo, Get Up Alby ($4.20), at start time.
The 1600 metres start is located in the furthest northern corner of the track in a chute at the beginning of the long back straight, giving the runners the opportunity to “posi” up prior to encountering a bend.
Billy and his mount began on terms with the field, after summing up other horses’ movements, he eased MORE SPICE marginally and settled one off the fence, about four lengths back from the leader, Discombe, by the time the 1400 metres post was reached.
Nothing much changed for the next 600 metres of the race. It was around 800 metres from home when the jockey initiated a move on MORE SPICE. Billy had upped the tempo slightly and at the same time was angling his mount outward whilst going forward. It was a heady move by the rider, it gave him open spaces ahead albeit four horses wide.
On the home turn, with still 450 metres left to run, MORE SPICE was coming into the race nicely and travelling well within herself, the outside runner. Now into the straight and balanced up it was “get down to business time” for the duo.
Going through the gears Billy had his horse making up ground comfortably on Discombe, who had lead throughout and was still going strongly and in fact gave a good kick at the 350 metres mark. MORE SPICE’s jockey didn’t panic, it was hands and heels whilst his mount was reducing the margin to the leader.
Adjacent to the 200 metres post now and it was time to draw the “persuader”. A few flourishes and MORE SPICE responded, the pair were getting closer with every stride now only two lengths the difference. However Discombe wouldn’t lie down and was sticking on strongly.
They were now 100 metres out, still a length and a bit the margin. Billy was fiercely urging his horse on, 50 metres out MORE SPICE drew level. The jockey maintained their momentum with strong hands and heels riding.
Passing the Winning Post it was MORE SPICE by a neck, Discombe held on for second with third place going to the strong finishing All Too Difficult a head away, coming from second last rounding for home seven or eight lengths from the front runners.
Congratulations to the owner Peter Bennie, your horses seem to have thrived under Singleton Racing Stables care. Your progeny of Mosayter (USA) are certainly going well for you. Billy Cray, you did a marvellous job riding MORE SPICE to perfection, one of your best one would say. Finally to Scott, Lucy and their staff for all their hard work …Thank You.