A LIFETIME in racing has taught trainer Barry Campbell to know his horse’s limitations and he won’t be setting any unrealistic goals for his in-form sprinter Innocent Gamble.
Although Innocent Gamble was untroubled to win yesterday’s $25,000 Tapeta Sprint final at Spreyton, Campbell rates the seven-year-old ‘‘a step down from the best’’.
For that reason, he is unlikely to head towards the state’s premier sprint, the Newmarket Handicap, at Mowbray in November and instead will wait for an easier target.
‘‘For a start, the horse just doesn’t go at Mowbray so it’s probably a waste of time taking him there,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘But he loves it here [at Spreyton] so I think I’ll put him away for a while and wait the feature sprint on Devonport Cup day [in January].’’
Innocent Gamble has won six of his nine starts on the synthetic track and every time has been ridden by apprentice Ismail Toker.
‘‘Ismail knows the horse well but I did remind him not to ‘go’ until he got to the 200 metres,’’ Campbell said.
Toker followed his instructions, sitting just off the leader Loaded Owners until well into the home straight.
Innocent Gamble then quickly hit the front and drew clear to score by just over a length from the fast-finishing Iggimacool, with Loaded Owners a neck away third.
Campbell took training honours on the day, also winning with Evil Intent.
STEWARDS had the final say in three of the nine races, upholding one protest and dismissing two.
Rhonda Mangan fired in the first objection after going down by a nose on Geegees Classicboy in the Maiden Plate.
Mangan said that the winner, So Much Fun, had ‘‘rolled in’’ on her mount in the home straight ‘‘stopping me from riding my horse out and costing me between a half-length and a length.’’
In a rare show of frankness, So Much Fun’s rider Anthony Darmanin told stewards that ‘‘the second horse should have won by four lengths’’.
’’But it wasn’t my fault that it didn’t – Rhonda was going for runs where there wasn’t any room,’’ Darmanin said.
Stewards disagreed, upheld the protest and gave Mangan the first leg of a double (she scored later on Chips).
PUNTERS were left holding their tickets after heavily backed favourite Magnetic Queen went down narrowly in the Class 1 Handicap.
Apprentice Jake Bayliss did his best to reverse the result, protesting against the winner Royal Bluff for interference at the 200m.
However stewards didn’t accept Bayliss’s argument that Royal Bluff, ridden by Erhan Kacmaz, had taken his rightful running and forced him to change course.
‘‘I had to switch from the outside of Royal Bluff to the inside and my horse lost her momentum,’’ Bayliss said.
However chief steward Anthony O’Connell said that Magnetic Queen ‘‘hadn’t fully established herself’’ in the run that Bayliss was attempting to take.
‘‘Royal Bluff did briefly shift out, causing Bayliss to stop riding for one stride, but it wasn’t sufficient to alter the result,’’ O’Connell said.
HELL Strong also survived a protest to win the Benchmark 72 Handicap, landing some good bets at long odds.
Apprentice Chantal Willis took Hell Strong straight to the front and he held on to score by a neck from Don’t We Love It.
However, Don’t We Love It’s rider Anthony Darmanin protested over a bump at the top of the straight.
Willis conceded that there was contact but argued that Hell Strong had safely held Don’t We Love It over the last 200m.
Stewards agreed with Willis’s assessment, stating that the interference did not exceed the winning margin of a neck.
Darmanin, who had been resigned to losing a protest earlier in the day, on this occasion was clearly upset by the decision.