FINAL Count graduated from a whip-cracking Inverell show win to end a long driving drought for Bendemeer trainer Robert Clement at Tamworth Paceway yesterday.
Four-year-old Final Count had finished last at his previous two Tamworth starts for Clement so the Bendemeer trainer/driver had a few problems to “iron out”.
He did that at home on his Bendemeer track and then taking the gelding to the Inverell Show.
“He won up there and then ran second in the whip-cracking too,” Clement joked.
Yesterday Final Count was wide early before Clement took him to the front and held off Clayton Harmey and Illdobetter for a 4.25m win.
It was Final Count’s third race win and Clement’s first, as a driver, for “a long time”.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Clement said.
“When I was training winners, Dean (Chapple) was doing most of the driving.
“I thought I’d better drive a winner before dad goes.
Clement returned to driving and training late last year after serving a disqualification.
However he was granted his licence under conditions that he only trained for his father (Andy).
“Yeah, I thought I’d better drive a winner too because all these old blokes – Spud (Ian Verning), Peter Munsie and Lenny Clement – were all driving winners too.”
At age 47 he joked he “looked 100”.
The Clement stable was also hoping to win at Newcastle gallops yesterday where Robert’s wife, Jane, had Tara’s Gift entered.
She also has Old Jimmy in today’s Quirindi Cup but the first emergency might not obtain a run.
Sawyer’s Gully trainer-driver Rod Pike excelled with a winning double at the Tamworth meeting.
He won the first with Smooth Cha and then obliterated the field to win the third by 37m with Tella.
Peter Hedges celebrated a winning driving double, winning with the Kerry Hedges-trained Zardevel and Ken Natty’s Jedi Superstar.
Hedges was seeking a treble and a double for Natty with even money favourite Gotta Feeling in the last but the combo finished last.
Peter Munsie thought he might be winning a double after he had won with Double Barrel and hit the lead with Sissies Beach Boy in the last but was swamped by Cindy Rippon and the Peter Rippon-trained Dr Vancealot.