Racing: Lucky 13 celebrate close call at Ellerslie

By Mike Dillon

The racecourse protest siren, akin to an air-raid warning, can kill euphoria in a split second.

The connections of Race 1 winner at Ellerslie last evening, Thatsforsure, stopped their celebrations in a stride when the connections of runner-up Leica Glory protested, alleging home-straight interference.

Thirteen owners said pretty much the same thing: "If we lose it, we lose it, the main thing is we have a terrific horse." And they do.

Thatsforsure came from last, went around the entire field five wide on the home bend and powered away, shaving Leica Glory as she breezed past easily.

The remarkable element was horses can't win from the back of the field at Ellerslie when the rail is out 12m, particularly when having just their second visit to the races, but then not all horses are by Tavistock, who can do no wrong.

Winning trainer is Te Rapa's David Greene, heading for the stars in his role. His quietly achieved recent success is no surprise to those who know him. His astute approach for one so young is refreshing.

The Greene family tried to sell Thatsforsure early and when there were no takers, David Greene put a syndicate together.

Some of the 13 met last night for the first time. It won't be the last.

Last night's race was 1400m and look for big things when Thatsforsure gets to 1600m and beyond.

The on-pace advantage with the rail out so wide was emphasised in Races 2 and 3.

Lookatmepins and Sam Spratt led and won from barrier No 2 in Race 2 and Elfee and Mark Du Plessis came out of the No 1 barrier a race later to stay on the speed and run down the pacemaking favourite Passivity in the closing 40m.

Lookatmepins was brought undone by a heavy track when resuming at Rotorua on January 8 and showed her appreciation of last night's firm conditions. That may not be the last win on similar conditions for trainers Kenny and Lisa Rae.

Prince Of Passion has overcome more setbacks than any horse you can think of.

The winner of last night's $22,500 Barfoot & Thompson Twilight Cup at Ellerslie was originally sold to Hong Kong as a young horse, but failed the scope. He then cracked a hind cannon, which required three pins being inserted into the leg. He was just coming right when he stripped a leg in a float incident.

All that seemed a long time ago as Prince Of Passion and Opie Bosson charged down the outside to take last night's feature narrowly from the well fancied Bhiwani.

Part owner Trevor Harrison paid tribute to the dedication of part owner and the trainer Jon Miller. And the modern technology got a mention -- Harrison watched the race and showed it to his mate in Thailand via Skype.

"It's like he was here at Ellerslie -- and he had a big bet on it on our TAB." The warm favourite The Justice League was making a home straight challenge when Carnavalito crossed his racing line, checking his momentum. He finished fourth, a nose behind third-placed Our Pink Diamond.

- NZ Herald

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