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By Graham Potter | Sunday, August 28, 2011

Doomben, August 27, 2011.
Track - Slow 7. Rail - out 2m.
QTIS Three-year-old Handicap - 1200m.
1 Easy Running; 2 Aquatorial; 3 March To Victory; 4 Availability.
Time: 1-11.53. Last 600m: 34.77.
Margins: 2.25; 0.50.

The Desleigh Forster trained Easy Running romped home in the first race at Doomben on Saturday to claim his third win from only seven starts.

The son of Easy Rocking never finished outside of the first three in his four starts as a two-year-old. After a four-and-a-half month break, Easy Running resumed in his first start as a three-year-old at the Gold Coast on August 4 where he won with something in hand over the 900m short course under the steadying burden of 59kg.

Nine days later he was back in action at Eagle Farm, this time over 1000m, but, although making some ground late, he was never a factor when finishing 3.10 lengths behind Availability. There was some excuse there. As reported in the Stewards Report, ‘Easy Running (A. Butler) had difficulty obtaining clear running rounding the home turn and approaching the 350m was obliged to alter course to the inside of Flammable (A. Best) in an endeavour to obtain clear running.’

Not shy on the back-up, Easy Running lined up again seven days later. He came into Saturday’s race third-up, all the better for his racing experience, racing on soft going on which he had already shown himself to be well-suited. The theoretical downside was that Easy Running was now, in fact, officially 0.5kg worse off at the weights with Availability for a 3.10 length beating. That supposed imbalance stemmed from the fact that a claiming apprentice had been replaced in the saddle by Damian Browne. The practical application was that the expertise of this senior rider all but nullified the weight turnaround.

Still the market went with the previously unbeaten Availability who started favourite at $3.40. The son of Exceed And Excel was two from two, He was really flash on debut and then was resilient when landing his second win. Again his run had been spaced at a two week interval. Weighed against all of those positives he had displayed was the worry that he was a touch inexperienced at racing alongside other horses (he had led in both starts) and there was a question mark against his ability in wet going as he had yet to be tested on the soft underfoot conditions.

Following his previous winning script, Avalability jumped into an immediate lead, but Damian Browne wasted little time in letting the favourite know he was there and he placed Easy Running in second spot within a length of the leader. A moderate mid-race pace coupled with the soft going meant that the leaders were going to be hard to run down.

Easy Running began to apply pressure on Availability approaching the turn and then stepped his challenge up a notch further on straightening. Availability did respond well enough in the first half of the straight and kept Easy Running honest, but the latter was always going slightly the better of the two and Easy Running duly asserted is authority inside the final 120m to come away to win by a decisive 2.25 length margin.

Availability weakened late and that allowed the ever-game Aquatorial ($15.00) to run on to claim second place ahead of March To Victory ($6.50). Both of these place-getters held positions just off the leading two runners until the turn. They were both left slightly flat-footed as the leaders quickened early in the straight, but they stuck to their task and, while never looking likely to pose any threat to the winner, they were rewarded with minor prize-money. Avalability had to settle for fourth place.

The second favourite, God Bless Us ($4.60) was last entering the straight. He did improve into fifth spot by the line, but at no stage did he threaten to be a major player.

Easy Running is owned by A J Havig, D M Forbes, G D Forbes, D J Perrier, Ms L Cunningham, Miss A Kenny, T Golinski and Forkbiz.

Easy Running has won three of his seven starts and also has three minor placings to his credit for stake earnings of $138 500.

Trainer Desleigh Forster: “He probably should be unbeaten this campaign.

“His first run he won at the coast. His second run, at Eagle Farm, the young boy got a bit lost on him and just probably rode him a bit too patient. He then got plenty of interference and he was just terribly unlucky last week.

“Damian (Browne) was pretty keen to ride him. The horse has got good gate-speed, can get back … can be put anywhere, so he is not a bad little horse. He’ll go further too.”

Jockey Damian Browne: “We got some pretty easy sectionals mid-race. That was probably my main concern not to give Availability too easy sectionals. My bloke had relaxed pretty well so I thought I’d to some pressure on Availabilty before the corner to see if anyone was home … to soften him up … and to see how well my bloke was going.

“I probably did expect a little more fight from the favourite, because of those easy sectionals mid-race, but he probably didn’t handle the track very well so I was able to put paid to him pretty quickly.

“My bloke gets through the wet track pretty well. He’s been on a wet track twice before and race experience put him in good stead for today.”

Winner (Easy Running): 8.00 in to 5.50.
Favourite (Availability): 3.10 out to 3.40. Finished fourth.

Chew The Fat (G. Colless) jumped away awkwardly, shifted in and bumped Lucky Tycoon (R. McMahon). Availability (J. Byrne) jumped out at the start hampering God Bless Us (S. Seamer).

Stewards sought an explanation from R. McMahon, the rider of Lucky Tycoon, in regards to the gelding's seemingly disappointing performance.

R. McMahon stated that he was able to gain a good position just worse than midfield, but following this the pace of the race slowed noticeably and he believed that this slow section of the race during the middle stages made it difficult for Lucky Tycoon to make up ground over the concluding stages.

Jockey McMahon added that the horse was not entirely comfortable on the rain-affected surface. A post-race veterinary examination of Lucky Tycoon revealed no significant abnormalities.

When asked to explain the disappointing performance of Chew The Fat, rider G. Colless stated that the gelding travelled well and after passing the 500m he elected to shift outside of March To Victory (J. Taylor) in an attempt to improve. Following this Chew The Fat did not respond to his riding and was inclined to hang in under pressure in the home straight.

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