THE nose win of Port Macquarie mare Al Nova in the Hydra Hose Summer Cup evoked plenty of tears, sentiment and jubilation for family members of the late trainer Arthur Thompson at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting before a big festive crowd on Sunday.
“It was Pop’s last horse he ever owned,” said Simon Thompson, grandson and son-in-law of Port trainer Neil Godbolt who was overcome with emotion.
Arthur Thompson’s son, Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson, also paid tribute to his late father: ”Pop rode him…Santa Claus has come for them (connections).”
The jockey’s mother, Phyllis,was still teary minutes after the win with Godbolt’s wife, Maxine, saying they were tears of joy.
The clan — the jockey’s sister Jan Burns, Simon’s wife Allison, Graham Collins and friends—had to wait until the photo-finish verdict to decide the winner,the mare (5-2 to 7-4) having her first win in two preparations since scoring in the rich Queen Of The North race at Port.
Such was the emotion surrounding the win that Godbolt asked his wife to get a saddle for the next race but he didn’t have a horse to be saddled up in that race, it being two races away.
Perhaps it was the way that Al Nova performed her task that clouded his thinking as she was no closer than three-wide throughout the race and only put her nose in front right on the line from Hawkesbury gelding Upstacker, thought to be a first runner for trainer Joan Pracey at Bushland Drive Racecourse.
Godbolt said that with no suitable races locally he may have to take the mare to Sydney and then on to the $30,000 Iris Nielsen Handicap over 1400m at Ballina on January 19.
It was a big day for Godbolt and Wauchope jockey Belinda Hodder who both claimed winning doubles.
The two combined with a first-up win with three-year-old filly Tenebrae (12-1),owned by a syndicate of Port business people headed by Mick Brennan,in the NBN “Big Dog” Maiden Plate over 1007m.
A protest by runner-up Showtime Charlie’s connections for alleged interference against the winner was dismissed by stewards.
One of the syndicate members, Peter Howard, said the unraced filly was bought for $16,000 from a friend of his son.
Hodder also had a length win on Taree four-year-old mare The Bee Charmer (20-1), trained by breeder Ian McRobert, in the Santa Comes Early 4YO’s and Upward Maiden over 1312m.
She was able to dictate the pace and led all the way with the mare only having her fourth start and being by local sire Floral Dynamite.
Although not many races are run over the 1312m of the Saxby’s Ginger Beer Class 3 Handicap, there was still immense merit in the win of Taree four-year-old mare Shazza’s Bubbles (5-4 to 13-8on), trained by Ross Stitt and ridden by apprentice Mathew McGuren, in breaking the track record which was held from 1998 by Bright Image, a subsequent winner in Sydney.
She won by three lengths at her previous start at the course but this time made it four lengths to confirm her next start will be in the $30,000 Inverell Cup over 1400m on New Year’s Day.
“She is on song for Inverell and should get into the race on the limit,”said Stitt.