First SA Spring features fall to pair of outsiders

\"\"Caption: Trainer Lauren Harris and her partner Ryan Tugwell with Don’t Tell Lies after her upset win in the Coffex Coffee Oaks. (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)

South Australian wrap with KURT DONSBERG

THE first of the South Australian Spring Group races turned out to be betting boilovers with two roughies taking home the cups, the rugs….and the cash.

The 2021 Coffex Coffee Oaks was the first Group race of the season and the Troy Murray -trained She’s A Hotshot started favourite but it was a roughie in the blue rug that would go on to spoil the party.

Don’t Tell Lies (Fernando Bale x Quest For Glory) was almost forgotten in the markets with as much as 30-1 on offer – and taken by some savvy punters.

The odds were probably justified too. In her heat she was still at the rear with 50 metres to go but burst through along the rail to just grab fourth spot and sneak into the big dance as the slowest qualifier with a time of 31.55.

Starting from the middle boxes in the final she jumped to the front with an electric start (5.26 first split is humming) in company with She’s A Hotshot, and they both barrelled to the front. Don’t Tell Lies was able to hold the rail and it proved to be the difference.

With the lure in plain sight, Don’t Tell Lies  knuckled down to business and went on to win in fine style in 30.56 with another favoured runner, Zinfandel Nikki, lobbing in second place. The only interstater in the series, Queen Redeem, ran third.

After the win, trainer Lauren Harris was all praise for her young charge.

“All we wanted to do last week was qualify,” she said. “We finished fourth. We wanted an inside draw, we got box four and she’s jumped beautifully and finished the race off so well.

“We knew she would be strong enough after her win at Murray Bridge last month when she won and broke 30 seconds over the 530 trip.

“Her tart was the key to her race.”

It’s been a long time between drinks for Group success for the Finniss-based trainer. Her last Group win was in the 2010 Brian Johnstone with Handsome Shiraz.

Making their night even better, Lauren and her partner Ryan Tugwell were responsible for Queen Redeem who filled third place. Contacted by Matt Marshall who trains Queen Redeem, the Finniss team looked after her for her Oaks campaign. She was first reserve for the Oaks but after the unfortunate scratching of Zipping Decoy she gained a start off the red and put in the run of her life in taking out third place.

But it was Don’t Tell Lies’ big night and Ryan Tugwell explained how the Tasmanian-owned dog came into their hands.

“We met (owner) Scotty a few years back when he had Mahalo Miss in the National Distance Final,” he said.

“It was held here in SA and he sent her over for Lauren to care for through the series. We’ve been great mates ever since.

“Scotty and co-owner Cameron Bett, purchased Lissa (Don’t Tell Lies) as a three-month-old pup. She was broken in and pre-trained in Melbourne and then came to us. We got her around May this year and she’s improved steadily along the way.

“We are still weighing up plans moving forward. We think her future will be over further ground. She looks like she’ll get 600 on her ear. She’s very young, not two for a couple months so haven’t made any definite decisions yet.”

The win takes Don’t Tell Lies record to 11 starts for 4 wins and a third and a few bucks short of $29,000 in prizemoney.

Another roughie in Mallee Magic caused a second upset when he landed the 2021 BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies Derby.

It was almost a case of deja vu with Mallee Magic replicating Don’t Tell Lies’ heat run in the Oaks. He managed to just sneak in to the final with a fast-finishing fourth place in the heat, but again was the slowest qualifier.

He also jumped form the four box in the final and was unwanted in betting starting at more than 20-1 when the lids went up.

Came And Went for Troy Murray started the punters’ elect after his 30.36 heat win in a new best time for the redeveloped Angle Park circuit. Second pick was Gemtree Maximus for Paul Rehmann who had a busy schedule before the race but was a real danger starting from an inside draw opposed to his wide draw in the heat.

Both dogs charged to the early lead and with a real war on up front Mallee Magic was able to take the sit behind them and just wait to pounce.

The early burn took its toll on the two front runners and on the home turn Mallee Magic was able to dart around the pair taking out the Group race by a length in 30.57.

The winner is trained by Tony Rasmussen and owned by prominent local trainer/breeder Cameron Butcher and his wife Yvonne. The chaser was sired by their star dog Worm Burner (out of Bells Are Ringin’) and Tony couldn’t speak highly enough of his young prospect.

“He’s exactly the same as Worm Burner. He looks the same and has the same attitude,” he said.

“I gave him a good chance in the race if he could lob behind the one and the three. I thought he could run them down. He’s no slouch.

“He was badly injured after his last run at Gawler (1/8/21). He made the final of the Champion Puppy but he cracked his shoulder blade so we had to scratch him. It’s been a massive effort to get him back and I’m very happy for Cameron and Yvonne.”

Surprisingly it’s the first time Tony has won the SA Derby  over his long training career and another feature race still eludes him – the Adelaide Cup.

“We’ll be aiming for the Adelaide Cup for sure,” he said.

Asked whether he’d try to gain a start via the upcoming match races where the winner gets a golden ticket into the Adelaide Cup final Tony is likely to try through the heats

“I think the match races might be a little bit much for him. He’s only a young dog with a handful of starts so I think we’ll go through the heats and see how he goes.”

Mallee Magic has now had 4 wins from 6 career starts and over $32,00 in the kitty.

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