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It was a sight to behold when CONCESSIONS, a six-year-old bay mare by Tickets out the Beautiful Crown mare in Last Dollars, left her opponents in her wake in the run to the line in the 2020 Tooheys New Armidale Cup run on Sunday 1st March.

The trainer’s report was that CONCESSIONS was probably the best horse in the race. She had done really well in her work at home and would relish the “give” in the track, which was rated a Soft 6 at the start of the day.

A warmish day was forecast, Mid North Coast-based Belinda Hodder had accepted the ride and the mare had been allocated the nice weight of 54kgs. A precautionary “tweak” was a gear change, Winkers being applied to the mare to keep her sharp due to small drop back in distance. The punters had kept CONCESSIONS safe in the market. Opening in the betting at $9 out to $10 then backed into $8 at start time.

The starting gates for the 1900 metres of the Cup journey are located at the beginning of the home straight. CONCESSIONS jumped on terms, Belinda then eased her mount with the intention of taking up a position on the running rail just back of midfield. After outsmarting a couple of the other runners to get there, it was a case of Belinda and her ride hugging  the fence for the next part of the race and settle into a steady pace.

On passing the winning post for the time, hometown favourite New Endeavour and the Paul Perry-trained San Francisco were up front jostling for the lead while that was going on, Mister Smartee from Port Macquarie had rushed up out wide and was caught even wider going into the first turn which is a tight one, ultimately that horse had to ease.

With the field stringing out down the side of the track, CONCESSIONS found herself some 7 to 8 lengths off the pace. With around 1300 metres left to run, Belinda as calm as you like was happy where she was keeping her horse comfortable, travelling well within herself.

Nearing 1000 metres from home, Belinda began her assessment of the situation. After moving a length closer to the frontrunners, the duo were now just under 6 lengths back and closing gradually. The 600 metres mark saw CONCESSIONS being asked to quicken, which she did, by time the field were approaching the 400 metres, the margin was down to 4 lengths.

Coming into the race with the pace on, still on the rail, Belinda was urging CONCESSIONS for that little extra in order to take advantage of the clear running room ahead. It wasn’t until the point of the turn Belinda eased her mare off the rails to three horses off the fence to gain clear running to the finish.

While this was happening, the Kris Lees - trained and favourite Chilly Cha Cha ($3.50) was laying down a challenge to the leader, New Endeavour, which was giving plenty.

Once into the straight and having drawn level and gone past the two horses in front of them, Belinda gave CONCESSIONS just a tap with the persuader and away they went, exploding to a three length margin within 50 metres.

Eventually going to the post close on 5 lengths ahead of Devlann, which and run on and the fast finishing Paul Perry horse and second favourite Nothing Too Hard. The crowd were silenced by the turn of foot CONCESSIONS had shown.

Wow … that was truly special. Congratulations to all the owners, especially long-term clients, Wal and Anne Lanham. Wal bred and along with Anne own another winner on the day in Itasca also from the Singleton Racing Stables and congratulations must also go to other long-timers, Adrian and Margaret Roberts. Finally, an extra well done to part lessees, the Wingnut Sports Syndicates, they also had reason to celebrate with Itasca.

’twas a grand day all round. It brought back memories of another Sunday this time in October, the 17th in fact, at the Hawkesbury racecourse, when CONCESSIONS and ITASCA were both victorious.

A fine training performance again by Scott and Lucy’s team, things are going along nicely from your Scone base. Even more successes will come in the near future.

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