Our Triple Play Takes Out Shirley Turnbull Memorial At Bathurst
By Craig Dumesny
Leading Goulburn trainer, driver Brad Hewitt headed to Bathurst on Boxing Night with somewhat of a point to prove with his smart open class pacer Our Triple Play.
Earlier in the year, Hewitt felt the gelding had done enough to have a crack at competing in the Interdominion Championship, after all he had won the Sydney Cup at Bankstown back in April rating 1.56.1 and then in July put up a great effort to take out the 4yo Championship at Albion Park, posting a 1.54.5 mile rating for the 2138 metre trip.
Despite lowering the colours of Conviction and Our Uncle Sam in that Queensland feature, Hewitt was gutted when handicappers deemed that Our Triple Play had not done enough to make his way into the qualifying rounds for Australasia’s biggest event.
The five-year-old came out and was impressive in winning at Menangle on December 1 which no doubt would had added to Brad’s frustration.
But on Wednesday night, Hewitt certainly had the last laugh when his pacer trounced his more fancied rivals to take out the time honoured $50,000 Kriden Park Shirley Turnbull Memorial and in doing so smashed the 2790 metre track record by almost four seconds.
Ironically, the second, third and fourth placegetters in Wednesday night’s feature did compete in the Interdominion where Our Uncle Sam stormed home to finish second behind Tiger Tara.
Wednesday night's feature was run at a hectic pace and Hewitt was content to settle Our Triple Play (a $31 chance) midfield on the pegs.
There he sat patiently until gaps started to appear on the home turn where he weaved his way through a wall of horses to get to the middle of the track.
Once in clear space, Our Triple Play simply sprouted wings to overpower the leaders and score running away by two and a half metres.
In a blanket finish for the minor placings, Joes Star Of Mia grabbed second inches ahead of race favourite Our Uncle Sam ($2.40) who was very brave in defeat as he worked hard to find the death chair and then breezed for the majority of the marathon trip.
The great man of Bathurst Harness Racing, Tony Turnbull was joined by many members of his famous family at the trophy presentation where sponsor and Chariman of Harness Racing New South Wales, Rod Smith paid his respects to the late Shirley Turnbull and acknowledged the wonderful contribution the Turnbull family have made to the sport.
An elated Brad Hewitt could not resist heaping praise on his stable star Our Triple Play, pointing out the many feature races he has won throughout New South Wales and the Carnival of Cups concept.
Included in those victories have been the Wagga Pacers Cup, the Maitland Inter City Pace, the Young Derby and the Canberra Derby.
Wednesday night’s meeting at Bathurst saw a big crowd witness some great pacing action, a highlight being the attendance of locally born and raised Andy McCarthy who is currently the leading reinsman at the Meadowlands Paceway in New York.
Andy was on hand to present the trophy for the Ray and Olive McCarthy Memorial, a race that honours his grandparents and was taken out by Doug Hewitt aboard Sports Story which is owned by his mother Cath and trained by dad Bernie.