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By Scott Gooley | Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rosehill, January 16, 2010.
Track - Dead. Rail - Out 3m.
Frank Underwood Cup (Listed) - 2000m. Time: 2-03.36 (Carrying 57.5 kg).
1 Rabbuka; 2 Spinney; 3 Zavite.

Six year old gelding Rabbuka maintained his impeccable track record at the Rosehill circuit, by claiming the Listed Frank Underwood Cup (2000m) on Saturday.

Rabbuka has now won his last four starts at the Sydney track, including the Listed Festival Stakes in December of last year.

As was the case in the Festival Stakes, Rabbuka ($4.20) ridden by Nash Rawiller, was allowed to bowl along in front of his nine competitors.

Dictating his own terms throughout the race, Rawiller increased the tempo as the field approached the home turn.

Upon straightening Rabbuka, who races in the familiar red and black striped silks of the Gooree Syndicate, had not only established a healthy three length lead but also had the rest of the field off the bit trying to chase him down.

On the finishing line, the consistent performer Spinney was the only runner to reduce the margin finishing one and quarter lengths away in second, with a similar margin to third placed Zavite.

Race favourite, Rainbow Styling ($3.30), who raced back in the field from his wide gate, finished fifth, beaten three and half lengths.

Racing Manager for Gooree, Andrew Baddock was full of praise for Rawiller.

“All credit to Nash - terrific Ride!”

“That’s the way to ride him. Let him roll along and then increase the tempo mid race.”

Rabbuka’s win not only took his career earnings to $392,900.00 from his twenty-one career starts, it was also the second leg of a winning double for his trainer, Gai Waterhouse.

In the fourth event of the day, The Argum Collection Handicap (1500m), Waterhouse’s representative Gigas ($3.40), claimed his third success in his seventh start, with a neck win over The Starlet ($8.00). There was a further one and half lengths back to Sequinella ($17.00) in third.

Rabbuka 4.20; Spinney 5.50; Zavite 16.00; Theophorus 9.50.

On jumping away, Zavite and Hairy, after coming together, were then badly crowded for room between Rabbuka, which shifted out, and Theophorus, which was taken in by Predominance, which shifted in after being bumped by Rainbow Styling, which in turn ran in at the start.

When questioned concerning Delago Star being ridden back in the field, J Ford confirmed that his instructions from trainer Mrs K Waugh were to go forward with Rainbow Styling early from his wide barrier and then look to find a position just in behind the pace, hopefully, with cover. He stated that, when his mount only began fairly and Rainbow Styling did not go forward as he was caught wide and as he was not confident the field would string out sufficiently to allow him to slot in with cover on the pace, he made the decision to come back behind the field to take up a position closer to the rails.

An inquiry was opened into the tactics adopted on 5th placegetter, Rainbow Styling, when evidence was taken from rider J Cassidy and co-trainer Mr M Hawkes. Mr Hawkes confirmed that the instructions to J Cassidy were to go forward from his wide barrier and take up a position on the pace.

J Cassidy stated that Rainbow Styling was very fractious and continually laid on the side of the stall, whereby on three occasions he requested the starter to hold and, just prior to jumping, requested an attendant on the tail of Rainbow Styling. This evidence was verified on the videos and by the starter Mr W Dale.

J Cassidy added that Rainbow Styling jumped very awkwardly, making contact with Predominance. He said that, after correcting his mount’s shift and balancing it up, to have then chased forward would have seen him have to make too much use of Rainbow Styling early, particularly with Predominance being ridden forward and his mount, therefore, likely to be trapped three and four wide without cover into the first turn.

J Cassidy further stated that into the back straight he elected to take up a position on the back of Theophorus three wide, where his mount travelled reasonably well, but Theophorus was unable to take him into the race he then endeavoured to commence to attempt to make ground around that runner from the 500m. He added that, with the pace then quickening, Rainbow Styling did not show a lot of acceleration and, after endeavouring to hold Hairy from taking him wider at the entrance to the straight, he placed his mount under full pressure, whereby it ran home solidly without threatening the placegetters.

J Cassidy advised that after the incident at the start, which resulted in his decision to race further back than had been intended, there was no real opportunity to improve mid race without making too much use of his mount and, with the race developing into a sprint home, he agreed that the chances of Rainbow Styling were diminished.

A post race veterinary examination of Walk In the Park did not reveal any abnormalities, other than the mare had lost its near-hind plate in running. A post race veterinary examination of Hairy revealed the mare to be lame in the near-foreleg.

Trainer Mr G Portelli was advised that a veterinary clearance would be required for Rabbuka prior to its next start. When questioned concerning the performance of the winner, Rabbuka, as compared to its 6th placing in the Tatts Cup at Randwick on 1 January 2010, stable representative Mr D Meijer stated that Rabbuka performs best when able to dictate terms, which it was not able to do in the Tatts Cup, but was successfully employed in the Festival Stakes (Rosehill 5 December 2009) and in today’s event. Mr Meijer added that the stable had not been disappointed with the performance of Rabbuka in the Tatts Cup, as ultimately it was only beaten two lengths.

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