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By Graham Potter | Sunday, August 28, 2022

It would be fair to say that punters received a slap in the face in the opening race at the Sunshine Coast on August 28 when three runners at double figure odds filled the first three places in a Maiden Handicap over 1600m … with Jasmine Cornish riding the Tony Bita trained Mottram leading the charge.

You would have thought that by now it would be part of the punter’s duty of care not to underestimate a horse ridden by Cornish on the basis that numbered amongst her list of winners during August were horses with starting prices of $10, $21 and $41, so the warning was there before Mottram saluted at odds of $17.

However, Cornish did provide some relief for those who wanted to stay in their comfort zone of backing well fancied horses though, when she brought home the $2.60 favourite Funny Money for trainer Stuart Kendrick later in the day, giving Cornish a well-earned race-day double.

The five-year-old Mottram had been with two trainers before arriving in Tony Bita’s stable during which time he had placed twice in only eight starts over a period stretching from October 16, 2019, at Moe, to September 1, 2021 at Doomben.

Prior to this Sunshine Coast run in a Maiden Handicap over 1600m, Bita had sent Mottram into action on a further six occasions, all unplaced, but in his last start prior to this August 28 engagement, Mottram had finished closer to the winner than he had for some time, finishing 1.30 length back.

The fact that was on the Poly Track, coupled with his previous ordinary form, hardly won anyone over and so the $17 starting price came into play.

Cornish took Mottram back from the wide draw (barrier 11) at the break, and the grey loped along in third last place in twelfth spot in the early part, racing all of eight lengths off the leader, but, importantly, Cornish had now found an inside run, meaning Mottram would be saving ground as the race unfolded.

Cornish remained patient. On the home turn she briefly considered taking a run two wide, but instead went back to the inside run where he almost immediately started to make up ground, albeit still a little over six lengths back.
A neat side-step to slip in-between runners was followed by a move back towards the inside and Mottram’s momentum was now building with meaning.

By the 200m Mottran found himself in a line of five horses, now only three lengths back, chasing the long-time leader Stealth Fire ($61) and when Stealth Fire’s run came to an end inside the final 100m, Mottram and another $17 chance Bold Enforcer joined issue in what became a two way fight for the honours.

Mottram edged ahead narrowly over those concluding stages and kept fighting to the line to hold a 0.20 length advantage at the line, to immediately put punters on the back foot.

Five races later Cornish became the punter’s friend when she piloted the Stuart Kendrick trained $2.60 favourite Funny Money to victory in a BM58 Handicap over 1000m.

There was some early concern when Funny Money did not jump away well and landed in the second half of the field, but Cornish quickly rallied the chestnut daughter of Capitalist to push her into midfield, before settling a touch better than midfield, just three length off the lead at the halfway mark, where she bided her time, saving Funny Money for the effort that she would still have to call for from her mount.

Funny Money was still those three lengths back on straightening … with three runners spread across the track in front of her … but now it was time for action.

A flick of the wrists and a gentle reminder or two from Cornish as to why they were out there sent a message to Funny Money which was received loud and clear, to the degree she quickly cut back the deficit and joined issue for the lead with 180m left to run.

By the 150m mark Funny Money was in front, and that is where she would stay in spite of the best efforts from those runners closest to her.

The winning margin was a neat length with the result updating Funny Money’s race record to three wins and no less than four runner-up finishes from ten starts.

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Funny Money
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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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