FORMER Glen Innes trainer Hunter Kilner insists he is just about ready to retire but he showed at Glen Innes on Saturday he still has the knack of preparing winners.
Now based at Grafton, Kilner won the T & M Lockyer Maiden Handicap (1400m) with Diamond Daze, as well as saddling up runner-up Zappa The Rockstar, which finished two lengths adrift, while Dora’s Future (apprentice Chle Lee) was third, another two lengths back.
Diamond Daze had a habit of dropping out to last in recent races but on Saturday jumped nicely and strode to an early lead which she never relinquished.
Speaking in front of a faded photograph of his 1976 Glen Innes Cup winner, Eastern Lad, in the committee rooms, Kilner pondered the vagaries of the racing game.
“How do you work out that it was going to jump on terms with them today when she has been dropping out to last the last few starts?” he wondered.
“I freshened her up a bit for this start and I wish I could have got on in running after she jumped so well.”
Kilner expects Diamond Daze to be better over 1800 to 2000m.
“She is out of an At Talaq mare so she should go better over more distance,” he said.
The five-year-old grey mare was in the Bart Cummings yard for her two and three-year-old career and was having only her eighth race start.
He described second placegetter, Zappa The Rockstar (Marlon Dolendo), having only its third start with the Kilner stable, as “also a real grinder”
“He ran on nicely and is looking for more ground,” he said.
“But it’s finding a maiden over a bit of distance that’s the problem.”
Tamworth-based breeder and trainer Ron Buckpitt cheered home his seven-year-old mare Summa Cum Sadie in Saturday’s McDonald’s Class 2 Plate (1400m).
It was the sparingly raced chestnut’s third win from just 15 starts and, for Buckpitt, a happy day considering he stands the galloper’s sire, Summa Cum Laude.
The Paul Grills-trained Kingston Time (Geoff Snowden) was a length and a quarter away second with the same margin to stablemate Mapuche (Ben Looker) for third.
All Summa Cum Sadie’s wins have come in her last six starts since November.
“The plan was to stay on the rails about midfield but the horse was going too well and Kassie (apprentice Furness) decided to let her stride forward,” Buckpitt said.
“It was a very good ride.”
Buckpitt will now look to a Class 3 at Walcha for its next outing.
The Walcha Cup Carnival meeting is Friday/Saturday, February 7/8 however there is this Saturday’s Deepwater Cup meeting and Sunday’s Country Music Cup meeting at Tamworth to negotiate first.
Then follows Scone (Friday, January 24) before the Walcha Cup Prelude meeting at Armidale on Monday, January 27.