Barbados Express takes out the Bayroad Queen stayers final

\"\"Caption: Ben Rawlings gives a congratulatory kiss to Barbados Express after victory in the Bayroad Queens Stayers Final at Murray Bridge. (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)

South Australia Roundup with KURT DONSBERG   

The first relocated feature at Murray Bridge (with the Angle Park shutdown) was run and won in the first week of May.

The Bayroad Queens Stayers final – named after one of the great SA stayers, Bayroad Queen, who, at her peak, was considered one of the best dogs in the land.

The 680m final saw eight dogs compete with five of those having tasted success over the recently established distance, but it was Barbados Express that proved too good for her rivals – setting a new benchmark of 39:03 for the staying trip (improving on Oakvale Impact’s 39:06 set a fortnight earlier).

Part owned by Tanner Ahl, who gave me a few words after the race: “Confidence before the race was high as long as she could use the inside box draw and roll to the front. From there we thought she would be strong enough to lead all the way, which she did.

“We hope that she continues to improve and mature and would love for her to get to a level where Ben (Rawlings) is able to travel interstate with her for some of the bigger races.”

This sentiment was echoed by trainer Ben Rawlings who is also keen to see how far the 2018 daughter of Fernando Bale x Sweet Barbados can go.

“I would love to travel with her as I think she\’s fast enough, but just needs to get more consistency with her box manners,” Rawlings said.

“She’s very playful at home, charges out of her kennel, especially when its race day and launches herself at you. So she still has some maturing to do.

“Otherwise she is a lovely dog and we rate her very highly. At the moment I think a 650m run is her ideal distance. Hopefully she can develop into a nice 700m bitch.

“She’s not the quickest worker in the runs but she does love to work. The new Angle Park track, with the way it\’s shaping as a circle, will hopefully play into her hands as an on-speed dog.

“Her next goal is the distance championship, so hopefully she can qualify for the final and draw inside and be very hard to beat. There’s no real plans past that at the moment though, we’ll take it as it comes.”

Asked if he thought she could break the 39 seconds in the future, the answer was simple: “Yes.”

The win was the 8th in her career from 24 starts for Barbados Express and was bitter sweet for the Rawlings camp. Earlier in the week their former star stayer, Bogie Bekim (aka Billy), who had retired and taken up residence at the Rawlings house was diagnosed with very advanced bone cancer and the Rawlings family had to make the decision no one ever wants to make.

Tanya Rawlings after the race said: “I reckon Billy gave her some extra wings tonight.”

Agent Hamish sets a new benchmark

At start number seven, Agent Hamish floored the old 530m of 29:59sec at Murray Bridge, running the trip in a blistering 29:50.

The January 2019 Barcia Bale x Fearless Swan pup now trained by Troy Murray had always shown he could run, but didn’t always show the best manners. In his maiden voyage for Nathan Rooney at The Meadows he was right on the speed and should have probably won, but lost his concentration a smidge and finished fourth.

Nathan, and partner Ashlee Terry, had him from break and knew he had plenty of potential, but after his display of poor manners they suggested he try racing in South Australia and went to Troy Murray’s kennel.

And the change of kennels has worked a treat. He won his maiden at his first local SA start, placed in the next couple, won again and then went BANG at Murray Bridge!

He broke the first split record going 11:71 and then finished it off with an overall time of 29:50.

Jack’s Well shows why he is a champion

The 2021 SA Anniversary Cup took place at the Gawler Greyhound Track on May 16.

The field assembled was a hot one with Murray Bridge Cup winner Air Marshall involved and a newcomer to SA, Zipping Sultan also lining up for the big dance.

Another finalist was Jack’s Well for Cameron Butcher. Named after a well on the Butcher’s Meningie property, Jack’s Well was the best credentialed dog in the field, but ironically was given little hope of winning on his lesser favoured track of Gawler.

With 20 wins and 11 placings from 36 career starts it was unusual seeing Jack’s Wells’ price at each way odds, but when the lids opened and the brindle boy jumped, the bookies hearts could be heard breaking.

Zipping Sultan was an early leader but Jack’s Well – Buster – was right on his hammer and the writing was on the wall. He rounded the home turn and the Buster of old let go with his trademark run home, having just enough track to claim Zipping Sultan in the shadows of the post.

Jack’s Well is the current star for the Butcher team with previous great dogs the likes of Worm Burner and On Fire proudly flying the butcher flag.

Whether he will be good as his predecessors remains to be seen, but the writing is on the wall for this star two year old.

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