Champion jockey produces a perfect ride on promising Portatorio

Champion jockey Robert Thompson produced a perfect ride on Taree winner Portatorio this week.
Champion jockey Robert Thompson produced a perfect ride on Taree winner Portatorio this week.

PORT Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham’s patience and perseverance paid off with a win by her former promising five-year-old gelding Portatorio ($3.40) at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting on Tuesday.

The 1.5 lengths win was aided by a perfect ride by Hall Of Fame jockey Robert Thompson, who had the gelding one out and one back before scooting to a 1.5 lengths win in record time for the unusual 1312m of the Winning Post Function Centre Handicap. 

He had a lot to do with Portatorio’s wins when a promising youngster and has since guided the gelding to again capture its pride of place.

“It is nice to see him back,” Thompson said.

“He showed great potential early.

“He was spot on today and I had a beautiful ride.”

Graham said Portatorio had been dogged with “a lot of injuries” and the win (its fourth in 19 starts) was well overdue.

“He has had some great races here (Bushland Drive track, three wins and three placings in seven starts).”

She said the gelding had a bad infection in a joint about a year ago and it had to be scraped out.

“Sometimes he can be his worst enemy in races but all went well today.”

Portatorio breezed past runner-up, All Summer Long from the Newcastle stable of Kris Lees, with 1.25 lengths back to consistent Taree gelding Fuel, scratched from a Highway race at Randwick on Saturday by trainer Wayne Wilkes.

Pocket rocket three-year-old filly Hebrides Maneuver ($11, paid $13.10 TAB) stamped herself as a country aspirant for The Championships with her third win from nine starts in stepping up to the 1257m of the Saxbys Soft Drinks F & M Benchmark 56 Handicap, a heat of the Rising Star Series for apprentice jockeys.

“That win I think has brought me into first place now,” apprentice jockey Olivia Pickering said of her standing in the series.

“Even though she is small, she is the best eater I have had in the stable,” Taree trainer- owner Greg Drury said of the filly.

“The pony is needed to settle her to get to the barriers but she is getting better.

“She has had five outside barriers  (eight for this race) and hasn’t been given easy tasks but I think she is a fair horse.”

The filly scored by a neck from Unbridled Power, ridden by Louise Day for Lees, with a short head to Something Shocking ridden by Blaike MacDougall for Wyong mentor Tracey Bartley.

Lees had better luck with promising Jack’s Bar ($1.85) which made it two in a row at Taree in leading all the way for a 3.5 lengths romp in the De Bortoli Wines CG & E Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1257m.

Jockey Aaron Bullock said: “He gets better every time I ride him…he is going to make a nice horse.”

Port veteran trainer Margaret De Gonneville sprung a surprise when first-starter three-year-old gelding Golden Comet ($8)  scored by 2.75 lengths for jockey Jeff Kehoe in the Mid Coast Automotive Maiden Handicap over 1007m.

“I bred him, he is Rangiora’s half-brother,” said the happy trainer who also had a fourth behind Hebrides Maneuver with Gold Dancer which was posted five-wide on the turn.

Another first-starter, three-year-old filly High Rush, trained at Newcastle by Jason Deamer for a syndicate headed by James Lovegrove, landed some goods bets when backed from $6 to $2.40 before scoring by a half-neck in the Prime 7 News Maiden Plate over 1257m.

Other winners were Retribution ($2.15) for Newcastle trainer Phillip Atkins and rider Luke Cumberland; Southern Flight ($15) for Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge and jockey Ben Looker and Old Man’s Angel ($15 to $9.50) for Kembla Grange mentor Theresa Bateup with jockey Rachel Murray in the saddle for her sole ride at the meeting.