Stanley’s mare stuns red-hot field in opener

OPENING WIN: Ken Dunbar rode Dungannon superbly to notch a meet-opening win for Bathurst's Peter Stanley at Towac Park on Saturday. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY
OPENING WIN: Ken Dunbar rode Dungannon superbly to notch a meet-opening win for Bathurst's Peter Stanley at Towac Park on Saturday. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

Proving she was severely overpriced at 20-to-one, seven-year-old outsider Dungannon, trained by Bathurst’s Peter Stanley, motored home and beat out a red-hot Kennard’s Class 3 Handicap (1280 metres) field in the first at Orange’s Towac Park on Saturday.

Charged with outrunning a number of classy sprinters, including Matthew Smith’s Walshie, Gary Portelli’s Hutcho and Nick Olive’s Dylan’s Deeva, Dungannon sat mid-pack on the turn for home before kicking hard in the last 50 to give Bathurst’s Peter Stanley a meet-opening win.

“It was a pretty bloody good win,” Stanley said.

“I’d told Kenny (Dunbar, Dungannon’s hoop) to get her stirred up, warm her up and get the blood pumping then let her go. I said if she was within four lengths coming to the straight she’d run over them, and she did.

“She’s a horse that needs to be ridden hard, and Kenny did that. High praise for the ride, especially in that kind of Class 3 field, with all those Sydney horses.”

Saturday’s impressive victory was only the second of the mare’s 36-start career, her other win also coming at Orange, her maiden way back in December last year.

Dylan’s Deeva was the best from the gates, an expected start considering her penchant for leading.

Kijitsu and Hutcho were both right up on the pace early, Walshie figured in perfect position while Dungannon, from the inside barrier, sat well back along with Destiny’s Revenge.

Olive’s mare held a length-buffer into the straight from Walshie, Hutcho and Juju Man, as Dungannon loomed three wide on the outside.

Walshie, a $1.90 favourite, edged past Dylan’s Deeva at the 200 mark and looked home and hosed.

Then Stanley’s mare kicked, and hard.

She rocketed past Smith’s favourite in the last 50 metres to finish off the wildly impressive run, with Walshie hanging on for second and Dylan’s Deeva ($5.50) holding off Destiny’s Revenge ($7) in the tightest of photo finishes for third.

“My word I was,” Stanley said, when asked if he was confident his mare was capable of such a run.

“Her work has been really good and she’s been as honest as the day’s long. She did the same thing in her maiden win here, and she’s picked up a lot of places since, I think it was a matter of time.”

Hutcho was another length back in fifth while Juju Man ran sixth for Michael  Mulholland.

Valknut ran seventh and never really featured while Kijitsu faded badly after sitting on pace early.