ROSEHILL trainer Richard Freedman dominated the Muswellbrook carnival on Friday with two long-priced winners, securing the $100,000 Muswellbrook and District Workers Club Muswellbrook Gold Cup (1500m) and the $50,000 Horsepower Skellatar Sprint.
He and Christian Reith combined to take out the Cup with the imported Japanese-bred The Bandit, backed in from $41 to start at $18, and the Sprint with the $31 chance Latin Boy (Shaun Guymer).
The Bandit, which was originally trained in Australia by John Sadler after winning one race in Japan, was specked late in betting and prevailed by a short head from the $8 chance Blinkin Artie (Andrew Adkins) with Got Unders ($16) a further two and a half lengths away third.
The Bandit ran a record of 1:29.74, bettering the time run by Careless Choice in winning last year's Cup.
The hot pace set by Pippi's Pride contributed to the time and, according to Will Freedman, the trainer's son and foreman, probably led to the win.
"We honestly thought this race was a little too short for him but the speed up front helped," he said.
"It has taken him time to settle into our stable and get used to our system.
"He won a race in town for us last preparation but he just wasn't right so we sent him to Waratah Stud for a break and he has come back a different horse.
"Dad did have a bit of a plan mapped out but we might have to re-think it now.
"I think he is already looking for 2000m.
"Christian knows the horse and rode a brilliant race."
Reith was probably more confident about the horse's chances than the stable.
"He trialled brilliantly at Rosehill on Wednesday," he added.
Reith brought The Bandit down the outside from well back early to finish quickly and grab Blinkin Artie on the line.
The disappointment was the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott-trained $2 favourite Sondelon (James Innes Jnr), which sat in third place early, went to the fence after finding the cutaway but struggled from there to finish fifth.
LATIN Boy, unwanted as a yearling when he failed to reach his reserve of $15,000, took his earnings past $146,000 when he bounced back to form to win the Horsepower Skellatar Sprint (1000m).
The Freedman-trained son of Roman Emperor was having his fourth start after a lengthy spell.
The horse was originally trained by James Cummings and switched to Freedman when Cummings went to Godolphin.
At his three starts back from that long spell he was well-beaten at Warwick Farm, Randwick and Canberra but stable representative, Alysha New, said it had taken time for him to get to get back to form.
Jockey Shaun Guymer branded him an iron horse and one of his favourites.
Guymer has ridden the horse eight times for all of his six wins.
"Shaun knows the horse so well and they just get on so well together," New said.
Guymer had the horse running just off the pace, got a split soon after straightening and went away to win by half a length from the $1.50 favourite I Am A Cool Kid.
His winning time, 56.67 seonds was just a fraction of a second outside the track and race records.
PUNTERS started the day on the right note when the Tim Martin-trained four-year-old Homberg won the tab.com.au Maiden (1280m) after being backed in from $16 to start at $8.
The horse was having his first start after three preparations and four trials.
"He is a big gangly horse and had a few issues so Tim took his time with him," foreman Glen Thompson said.
"We were reasonably confident he could win although he missed a trial last week which had us a little worried."
Homberg won the start but Lee Magorrian settled him back in second place before going to the lead soon after straightening.
Despite wanting to run around in the straight he held off a challenge from the $2.50 favourite Aytobe to win by a head.
KRISTEN Buchanan had a more important engagement than being at Muswellbrook to watch her promising Bid 'N' Bare score a strong win in the Monteath and Powys Class Two (1450m).
She stayed in Wyong to watch her daughter, Mackenzie, who started school this year, compete in her school's cross country.
However, Buchanan has decided her daughter will need blinkers in future.
"She ran off and went to the toilet then re-joined the field at the 20m and finished mid-field," Buchanan said.
Bid'N'Bare got her name because of her antics in the sale ring.
"She ripped her handlers top off while she was being paraded," Buchanan said.
"She has always been a hot filly and it has taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are now.
"Finally, she has started to learn to relax and Jeff Kehoe deserves special mention for all the work he has done on her.
"I was going to run her in a heat of the Provincial Championships but opted instead to head to this race.
"I think she is up to better company and I might look at a fillies and mares race at Scone in May."
Grant Buckley settled Bid'N'Bare ($4.40) in fourth place then went to the lead in the straight to win by a length from Nitride ($4.60).
THE angle on the finish line at Muswellbrook has fooled numerous people over many years and it did the same to just about everyone except the judge, Nathan Martin, after the running of the Two River Wine Benchmark 58 (1750m).
The Paul Perry-trained Zizania ($7) and Dynamic Dynasty ($8) hit the line locked together and nearly everyone, including the connections of Dynamic Dynasty and apprentice Reece Jones, thought they had won.
The Perry stable and jockey Luke Rolls thought they had run second and that is the order they filled in the winner's circle.
However, the semaphore showed Zizania as the winner by a nose.
Desiree Kearney, the co-trainer of Dynamic Dynasty, was devastated and asked to view the official photo finish.
She claimed there had been a dead heat and asked for stewards to intervene.
Martin told the hearing he could find a margin between first and second and stewards upheld his decision.
Perry's son and foreman, Nathan, said he thought their horse had run second.
"I was just on the phone to dad and he thought we had run second and what a shame she had missed after such a strong finish," he explained.
"Dad said he had never seen anything like it before."
Perry and his wife Christie bought Zizania for $23,000 at a Scone sale.
"She is only tiny but I like the Zoffany breed," he said.
"Not many horses win a maiden then back up to win a Benchmark 58 so it suggests she has more than average ability."
THE finish of the following race, the Prime 7 Sprint Class One (1000m) was almost a carbon copy of the Zizania-Dynamic Dynasty finish.
Thiswilldous ($5) and the $1.50 favourite, the Bjorn Baker-trained The Runner (Jason Collett), hit the line together with no one prepared to declare the outcome.
Eventually the judge stated Thiswilldous the winner by half a head.
The big Zoustar three-year-old was having his first run since winning a maiden at Coonamble in October.
"He is a lovely big, strong horse and I think we are going to have a nice 1400 metre horse later on," trainer Damien Lane said.
"I only paid $20,000 for him at the Classic sale and he is just one of those yearlings that get under the radar."
Jake Hull settled Thiwilldous in second place early while Collett had The Runner well back in the pack.
Thiswilldous hit the lead in the straight and The Runner, which seemed to be struggling early in the straight, dived late but just failed.
The stable and Collett got one back in the following race when Spencer, a son of Pierro and bought by Anthony Cummings for $200,000 as yearling, arrived late to win the BHP Mr Arthur Coal Wayne Harris Hcp (1280m).
The horse had six starts for Cummings before being switched to Baker and since then has won four races.
Collett had Spencer ($5) well back early and waited for the cutaway to send Spencer to the lead and go on and win by three quarters of a length from the $3.50 favourite Ori On Fire (Adrian Layt).
JOHN Ramsey was in two minds about whether to start In Good Health ($8) in the Allweld Services Benchmark 58 (1280m) after she drew the outside barrier.
"We decided to run her and let her race wide then produce a finish from the top of the straight and that is exactly how it worked out," he said.
"This race was right up her alley and she got the job done really well.
"I think she might get 1600m later on."
Mitchell Bell did manage to find some cover early on In Good Health behind Trophies Galore ($11).
Michael Squires on Trophies Galore circled the field from the 600m on to take the lead on the turn while Bell waited.
Trophies Galore skipped away and looked to have the race in her keeping while In Good Health had six lengths to make up but she motored home to win by three quarters of a length.
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