THE return to racing at Aramac last month fittingly celebrated the life of John Dolgner on and off the track with a special monument and sculpture ceremony along with the running of the inaugural John Dolgner Memorial Open Handicap 1400 metres which was a heat of the Outback Racing Showcase series.
John gave over 50 years of service to the Aramac Race Club and country racing and was renowned for his ability to call races without the use of binoculars.
He owned and trained many horses with his brother Jeffrey including Red Crayon which was honoured with the unveiling of a life-size sculpture placed at the start of John Dolgner Drive, the entrance road to the Aramac track.
A better result to the running of the Open Handicap could not have been scripted when Sizzalating produced a spectacular finishing burst to record its eighth straight win for Todd Austin and Alisha Ross.
Apprentice jockey Alisha Ross was content to let Sizzalating settle at the back of the field after 200 metres whereas jockey Morgan Butler had a bold plan to use I Wanna Be A Jeep’s speed and establish a lead where he could dictate the pace.
Approaching the home turn Butler was able to increase the tempo and established a three-length lead whereas Ross was anxiously winding up Sizzalating to give chase.
An upset result looked likely 200 metres from home until Ross sat down and asked Sizzalating for a final burst as it still had two lengths to make up.
Under top weight of 59.5kg, the Sizzling gelding responded like a top horse and finished so quickly that it was running away on the line to win by .75 length over a brave I Wanna Be A Jeep with Jarhead a further seven lengths away third.
The Pam Carolan-owned Sizzalating has now qualified for the Outback Racing Showcase Final to be run over 1500 metres at Mckinlay on the June 19 should connections decide to follow that path.
Sizzalating continues to climb in the ratings and consequently is asked to carry more weight but its will to win continues to defy these hurdles and set the benchmark for opposition in the Central West.
The Austin/Ross combination also won the B & A Woods 1000 metres Open Handicap with Media Vita that now puts itself on a path to win a Battle of the Bush heat in coming weeks and try to join stablemate Fully Maxed in the final.
Media Vita is a proven open company sprinter and chalked up win number ten with an impressive finishing burst to defeat Angels of Fenway by a length with Boingo a sound third.
Media Vita was having its second run after a spell having finished third to Fully Maxed in the Longreach Battle of the Bush heat and further improvement can be expected in future starts.
Amadeo and Grey Falcon provided the most exciting finish of the day when they split the line together in the 1400 metres Jeff Dolgner / D & C Helicopter Ratings Band 0-55 Handicap with a nose verdict going the way of the Geoffrey Rafter trained Amadeo.
Both runs were full of merit with Amadeo sustaining a four-wide run from the 800 metres and Grey Falcon weaving its way through the field along the rails after being some fifteen lengths off the leader 800 metres from home.
It proved to be a blanket finish with Pitchi Pitchi only a neck back in third and early leader Bound To Me less than two lengths from the winner in third.
The win gave Amadeo its ninth career victory and whilst the gelding had not won for some time it had been racing consistently in lower grades and with jockey John Rudd’s affinity with Amadeo, it proved to be a winning move taking off so far from home.
Trainer/jockey David Rewald took the QTIS bonus prize money with the first-up win by Tan Dinh in the Aramac CutPrice QTIS Maiden Plate 1200 metres.
The Better Than Ready filly jumped smartly to lead comfortably and was able to sustain that speed to lead throughout and defeat So Empressive by over two lengths with Massie Whisper a distant third.
The strength through the line shown by Tan Dinh is a positive feature for future races.
Emerald trainer Ross Meek has travelled regularly to the Central West in recent weeks with Done It Again and was rewarded with a strong win in the George Bourne & Associates Benchmark 50 Handicap 1000 metres over Boom Fire and Reconis.
Since the win at Blackall four runs ago Done It Again has recorded an unlucky second at Longreach prior to the win on Saturday and a noticeable feature of the wins has been the gelding’s ability to sit just off the pace before producing a sustained finish through the line.
The run by Reconis was also impressive as the mare was first up since November 2019.
The Battle of the Bush final field continues to take shape after the exciting win by Clarrie Hermann-owned Bollente in the Emerald heat and the Bevan Johnson trained American Genius in the Home Hill heat on Saturday.
Heats this week will be run at Cloncurry, Goondiwindi, and Mareeba whilst racing in the Central West sees the running of the Tambo Cup as a heat of the Outback Showcase Series.