James and Annie Sarten Memorial29 Oct 2019

Our annual Labour day meeting once again featured the Group Two James and Annie Sarten Memorial which again drew a top-class field of three-year olds. With a number of both 2000 and 1000 Guineas hopefuls entered our feature event was always going to be quite the spectacle.

The Moroney / Gerard trained Harlech ridden by Michael McNab ensured punters saw a quality performance.

Racing in the tartan silks made famous by Mr Tiz, the colt settled midfield three back along the rails before racing through an opening on the top of the straight to extend and win by one and a half lengths. He has now ensured himself as a contender at Riccarton in two weeks’ time.

Harlech is a three-year-old colt by Darci Brahma raced by the Elias Fletcher Partnership, the Paddons’, A Schmedje and Ballymore Stables.

We were honoured to host Marie Leicester on course as the sponsor of the race named after her late parents. James and Annie Sarten started breeding Thoroughbred’s 80 seasons ago and Marie has continued their successful legacy. The Belle moniker is known by all and continues to be associated with the highest achievers on the track. Reigning Horse of the Year, Melody Belle, is an eighth generation Belle, her NZ triple crown title and nine Group 1 wins have given Marie such great joy.

We are thankful for all of our sponsors, but for Marie there are no “commercial” branding benefits she’s just proudly supporting the industry she loves, one that gives her great satisfaction & joy.

Across the day we had several doubles on the card with jockeys Michael McNab and Craig Grylls riding two winners on the card and Jamie Richards and Moroney / Gerard also notching up training doubles.

The horse to follow out of the meeting and one that snuck under the radar with punters was a gelding from the Lance O’Sullivan / Andrew Scott team. Dragon Leap a million-dollar yearling purchase out of the Inglis Easter yearling sales won in emphatic fashion and stamped himself as a Derby proposition. The $15 shot made huge strides late to claim the third race on the card and will only appreciate more ground.

It was great to see so many families on track yesterday. A labour day Monday meeting can struggle to attract the wider community but with initiatives such as free Mr Whippy, we were pleased to welcome a good crowd on course who produced solid turnover and a great atmosphere.

Our next meeting takes place in just under two weeks on Saturday the 9th of November which features the Legacy Lodge Sprint over 1200 metres. We’ll see you then.