NEWCOMER to racing Doug Hall and tyro strapper Sam Russell enjoyed a perfect day at the track on Saturday when The Bargain and Sutton Express gave Moree trainer Martin Fernando a home-ground double.
Hall became involved in racing just 14 months ago and part-owns both winners while Russell celebrated her 40th birthday by leading them both back to scale.
Hall has had the kick-start to racing that every bush owner dreams about.
The ink had barely dried on the ownership papers last year when The Bargain stormed home to win its first FMBC Cotton Cup – a win that prompted Hall to invest further in the game.
The Bargain gave Hall back-to-back Cotton Cups on Saturday and he also part-owns 2150m Ospray BM-48 Handicap winner Sutton Express with Fernando as well as Kamakani, a winner at Moree’s Christmas meeting last year.
Sutton Express’s win on Saturday was its fourth since Hall and Fernando bought the mare seven months ago.
“This has been a really good day – now we’re looking around for another horse,” Hall grinned.
Sutton Express (9-4) was having her first start over a longer trip but did the job in great style under 4kg-claimer Sairyn Fawke to score by a half-length from amazing 12-year-year-old Star of Universe (2-1fav) and Duelling Goddess (7-1).
Russell, the partner of Fernando’s son Doug, was beside herself as she led Sutton Express back to the winner’s stall.
“Two winners on my birthday – how good is that,” she beamed.
And Fernando had nothing but praise for the hardworking strapper.
“Sam is a very good worker and is a very good lady.
“She looks after the horses very well – and she’s collared my son Doug, too,” he grinned.
“After 43 years I couldn’t wean him, and then along came Sam,” he chuckled.
The trainer said Sutton Express would now head to the paddock after passing her staying test with flying colours.
“She’s done the job and done it well, but she’ll be spelled now.
“We’ll give her a well-earned rest for at least three months and I think she’ll be a better horse when she comes back,” he said.
“She’s bred to run two miles and we’ll bring her back for the longer races but she’s the type of mare that you can put first-up over 1400m and she’ll get home hard.”
Apprentice Sairyn Fawke, now at Tamworth on loan to Leon Davies, said Sutton Express won well.
“It was a pretty good win and the race tempo was pretty much all over the place,” he said.
“Mr Fernando said to let her out at the 600m and let her wind up.
“She hit the line pretty strongly and fought on well.”