A huge Mount Isa Cup crowd was treated to a day of excitement and drama at Buchanan Park on Saturday in the two feature races. Anymore and Anchor Chain won the Mount Isa Cup (1700m) and Coppermart (1200m) respectively but not before the suspense was drawn out.
As the field was being loaded for the Cup Two Of A Kind went through the barriers.
The loading began again only for Two Of A Kind to go through again, this time taking Anymore. The process was interrupted again when Chestnut Road became stirred up and kicked out.
The favourite became hung up in the barriers, the other runners were unloaded and Chestnut Road vetted before being scratched at the barrier. Weathervane went hard from the outside to not get trapped around the first corner but Anymore and Two Of A Kind held their ground.
Split The Atom was slow away and crossed to the rails at the tail of the field.
Down the back straight Weathervane, Two Of A Kind and Anymore led the way as Split The Atom steadily moved forward. Weathervane was beaten as they left the back straight and Split The Atom began the chase.
Jason Babarovich paced Anymore perfectly and though Keith Ballard lifted Split The Atom he couldn’t get there and Anymore gave the Cup to trainer Steven Royes. Split The Atom was second and Night Wolf third.
See all our photos from the Cup Day here
In the Coppermart the best local sprinters Anchor Chain, Galea Warrior, Bowie Rocks and Damngoodchoice were all contenders but outsider Code One started the drama. It wasn’t a good day for Royes at the barriers after repeated attempts to load Code One the steward’s patience ran out and he was scratched. Finally they jumped as one and by the 1000m a blanket covered the field.
At 800m it was only two lengths in it and the pace increased. Leaving the back straight Bowie Rocks led the way, challenged by Galea Warrior. Stephen Galvin followed trainer Bob Burow’s instructions on Anchor Chain and let them go.
“I told him don’t be too concerned if he gets behind, he’s got a good kick in him,” Burow said afterwards. “As long as he was in touch.”
Craiglea Cruz took a shot at the bend but didn’t have the pace and Damngoodchoice made his move entering the straight. Bowie Rocks had Galea Warrior’s measure inside and Damngoodchoice outside. Galvin gave Anchor Chain a tickle and came through the middle taking the lead 75m from the post to win from Bowie Rocks and Galea Warrior third.
Galea Warrior won the recent Battle of the Bush Qualifier but Burow has no doubt Anchor Chain is the better sprinter.
“One hundred percent.” he said. “I think he would have won the Battle of the Bush but he didn’t meet the qualifying criteria. I have a lot of respect for Bowie Rocks and knew it was going to be an interesting match-up as they are the in form horses.”
Though beaten by his stablemate Burrows was happy with Galea Warrior’s run.
“Wrapped in the run, great preparation with him going to Brisbane.”
Galea Warrior heads to Doomben for the Battle of the Bush Final on June 23 and the opening race was named in his honour. The Good Luck Galea Warrior Handicap started the day with it held up by a car left on the track.
Eventually keys were found and Born To Fire’s trainer Shryn Gabriel-Royes drove off with it.
A punter looking for signs would have seen it as one because Born To Fire raced away to win.
Ridden by (ironically) David Sparks Born To Fire settled mid field with Alienate, Valpons and Crystal Bear behind Nitro City and Tidal Rip. Tidal Rip led around the bend as Nitro City faded and Crystal Bear loomed out wide and Born To Fire in the centre.
Crystal Bear couldn’t go on and Tidal Rip battled on but Born To Fire Was too good, winning by a length and a quarter with Crystal Bear a length behind Tidal Rip.
Abba Original made his debut in the Maiden Plate (1200m) west after moving from Townsville. Suddenly Spice was out quickly but Abba Original caught him as they left the back straight a couple of lengths in front of the field.
Abba Original went further and further in front around the bend and entered the straight four lengths clear of Kawana Viva and Nitro City. Jockey Tim Brummel shut down the engine with a hundred to go but Abba Original still won by seven and a quarter lengths.
Kawana Viva finished second a short neck in front of Nitro City.
In the Benckmark 60 Handicap (1,200m) Believe It Or Not, Mandalong Pass, Wicked Wiki and Dreamward Bound were out quickly from the outside barriers. The odds on favourite Damaging and I’m Desperate Too took up the perfect position behind them.
Wicked Wiki and Mandalong Pass led into the straight with Damaging and I’m Desperate Too emerging to challenge. Wicked Wiki kicked clear and was too good by three and a half lengths with Mandalong Pass battling on gamely for second, five and a half lengths in front of I’m Desperate Too.
In the Benchmark 60 Handicap (1400m) favourite Target Strike got out well from the inside and settled on the rails with Diurnal Tiger by the time they entered the back straight.
Alluder and Wulfwin were at their heels and down the back straight Alluder moved forward.
Around the bend and into the straight Diurnal Tiger, Alluder and Wulfwin came around together with Target Strike in behind.
As if Jason Babarovich had a premonition a gap opened in front of Target Strike and he was through and away. He strode away to a comfortable length win with a blanket finish behind resulting in Alluder coming second, a short half head in front of Wulfwin and Diurnal Tiger the same distance behind.