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By Graham Potter | Friday, May 26, 2023

The David Vandyke trained Banana Slide scored a gallant first-up win when taking out a QTIS Three-Year-Old Maiden Handicap over 1200m on her home track at the Sunshine Coast on May 26.

The daughter of Sebring (out of Let It Slip) had made her debut at Ipswich all the way back in November 2022. She had finished unplaced there and was then given just short of a seven-month break from race action before resuming here as the $3 race favourite.

Her inexperience looked like it might be a factor early on as Banana Slide jumped awkwardly at the break and took a moment or two to balance up, by which time she was back in second last place and already some five lengths off the early chase for the lead.

The filly did settle into stride after that but was still just worse than midfield, with eight horses in front of her and seven lengths off the lead, as the field began the sweep to the home turn, at which stage she had to be checked off heels which again interrupted her progress.

It looked like it was going to be one of ‘those’ days for the favourite, but Damien Thornton never panicked. Instead, he continued to guide his mount in a reassured and measured fashion, not rushing, but also having no option but to ride Banana Slide for luck along the inside.
It still looked to be a lost cause as the field straightened for home.

Now five lengths back, but with a wall of runners in front of her, it looked like it was going to take a massive effort from Banana Slide to even get a mention in the finish, never mind a win, but Banana Slide was up for the task and, when Thornton deftly switched herout marginally to take a split in-between runners at the 250m, it was now well and truly ‘race on’ as Banana Slide started to accelerate with meaning.

She still had it all to do though but, one by one, she cut down the runners in front of her with her strong momentum carrying her into the lead with 50m left to run … and on to a 0.80 length victory.

Such was the turnaround of circumstances in the home straight, that Banana Slide made it look easy in the end, but, make no mistake, this was a hard-earned win which brought a positive return, in particular in terms of showcasing both Banana Slide’s above average ability and her will to compete … two factors which served her very well here.

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Damien Thornton ... a cool, calm and collected ride

Photo: Graham Potter
Damien Thornton ... a cool, calm and collected ride

Photo: Graham Potter
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