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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Doomben, March 27, 2010.
Track - Good 3. Rail - out 4.5m.
1MW Last Year Handicap - 1630m. Time: 1-37.55. (Carrying 57.5kg).
1 Rothera; 2 Yuketan; 3 Hangover Henry.

The Ben Currie trained Rothera has really been hitting his straps in recent times and the gelding powered his way to another eye-catching success at Doomben on Saturday where he claimed his third win in a row.

Rothera’s run of wins kicked off over 1100m in a Class 5 event at Toowoomba on February 20. Three weeks later Rothera stepped up both in class and distance (to a Class 6 over 1350m at Doomben) but that proved to be no obstacle for the fast improving five-year-old who outgunned some useful opposition to win by a clear-cut 1.75 length margin.

This time the distance test went up to 1630m.

Interestingly enough, for the fifth successive run Rothera had a different jockey with Shane Scriven handed the reins on this occasion. (Kristy Banks, Jason Taylor, Ron Goltz and Jason Holder were in the saddle in Rothera’s four previous starts).

Scriven settled Rothera in seventh spot in the early running. Rothera was travelling at a comfortable gallop in midfield on a good speed as Spectacular Pic and Black Morgan set pace up front. In fact Rothera was going so well that, in mid-race, the race commentator called, ‘geez Rothera is going well ... it is trotting in midfiled.’

Rothera was still in seventh position as he cornered three wide, four lengths off the lead. The chestnut was clearly full of running, but there was a moment of concern as he was held in a pocket mid-straight. Scriven managed to get his mount out across heels at the 220m and now he had a new target to try and run down as Yuketan had already unleashed his finishing effort which carried him into the lead inside the final 200m.

Yuketan is as game as they come but, ability apart, there is a huge size differential between Yuketan and Rothera and the latter was simply too big and strong for his year older and much smaller rival and he strode to the front to win with authority by a 1.30 length margin.

His race statistics suggest that Rothera clearly likes to finish the job whenever he gets a sniff of victory. This was his seventh win in eighteen starts. He has never finished in second or third place.

Yuketan was brave in second while Hangover Henry did well to finish third. The latter came from well back and was inconvenienced when Mosta House, who was pushed out wider by Rothera when the winner switched out, momentarily crossed his path and interrupted his run. The interference arguably did not cost him anything in the result though as it always looked like third place was going to be his best outcome.

Eighteen-year-old trainer Ben Currie: “He’s been hitting the line really well and he just keeps getting better and better.

“Yeah, his form has taken off. He was a fair three-year-old, but he was racing in better company. I reckon we’ve probably positioned his races a little bit better. Just sort of picked our mark a little bit and found some winnable races and, like I say, he has just been going better and better.

“He was strong at the mile today. I was looking at him coming to the corner and I thought, geez, he is travelling sweet. I knew he would hit the line, so that was good.”

Jockey Shane Scriven: “Yeah, from the one alley ... I’d sort of done a bit of homework on him because I was impressed with his last run ... I was thinking, no speed in the race, the number one alley, I might be able to box-seat him ... which I tried to do.

“We had a few in front of me and they dragged me back and he was rather keen being the first go at a mile this time. Just getting to the turn I knew I just had to give him a bit of room because he was full of running.

“I had a look to the outside and there was a bit of a gap there. When I got him to the outside and let him down he sprinted good. He is not a bad animal.

“I don’t want to be detrimental to the opposition, but he beat them quite easy. What he beat you might have to question, but he beat them well. He’s not finished yet. That’s for sure.”

Winner (Rothera): 2.80 out to 2.90 in to 2.60.
The winner was the favourite.

Free To Roam (L. Cassidy) and Hangover Henry (B. El-Issa) became awkward and made contact on jumping away.

Leaving the 1400m, Black Morgan (D. Browne) had to be steadied when momentarily tightened for room by Mosta House (M. Speers).

Black Morgan was forced to raced three wide before assuming a position outside the leader near the 1000m.

For some distance rounding the first turn, Free To Roam got its head up and was inclined to race ungenerously and refused to settle.

Near the 250m, Hangover Henry (B. El-Issa) was hampered when Mosta House shifted out to improve.

Hangover Henry was inclined to lay in under pressure over the final 200m of the race and proved difficult to be fully tested.

Roy’s Legacy compounded rounding the home turn and finished some distance from the bulk of the field. When questioned, jockey B Stewart stated that whilst the horse was not entirely suited by the pattern of the race, it nevertheless failed to respond to his riding when he placed it under pressure.

Trainer B. Herne was at a loss to explain the disappointing performance. A post-race veterinary examination of Roy’s Legacy failed to reveal any significant abnormalities. B. Herne undertook to have further tests carried out on Roy’s Legacy in the days following the race and undertook to advised stewards of the results of those tests.

Following the race, D. Brown reported that he was of the opinion that Black Morgan failed to run out the distance of today's event.

L. Cassidy reported following the race that he had been instructed to ride Free To Roam back in the field, however the horse over-raced in the early stages and got its head up, refusing to settle, and proved somewhat difficult to ride in the early stages of the race. He added that when the horse eventually settled it travelled reasonably well and finished the race off well.

Correct weight was delayed to allow J. Holder, rider of the 4th placegetter, More On The Toe, to view the video to ascertain if he had grounds for a protest against the 2nd placegetter, Yuketan. After viewing the film, J. Holder declined to proceed.

An inquiry will be held into interference suffered by More On The Toe and Black Morgan (D. Browne) near the 150m.

M. Hellyer, rider of Yuketan, pleaded guilty to a charge of careless riding under AR137(a), in that he permitted his mount to shift in approaching the 100m, resulting in interference suffered by More On The Toe (J. Holder) and Black Morgan. M. Hellyer's licence to ride in races was suspended for a period covered by 7 meetings, to commence at midnight, 31 March and to expire at midnight, 11 April 2010.

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