ONE of the Central West’s superstars of the track, Caitlyn Keeping, lit up Kennerson Park on Monday evening during her big win in the opening heat of the Bathurst Cup (520 metres).
Dubbo trainer Charmaine Roberts watched her star Fabregas x Naomi Keeping bitch hit back in style after taking a tumble during the recent $100,000 Paws Of Thunder Final at Wentworth Park.
Monday night’s heat win will go a long way towards helping Roberts put the pain of that Sydney run behind her, with Caitlyn Keeping ($2.90) producing a storming run from the inside box.
Her runner led from start to finish in a time of 29.90 seconds – a new personal best for the Bathurst track – and 3.5m clear of her nearest rivals.
Caitlyn Keeping booked her place in Friday night’s $15,000 final along with the heat’s other top four finishers Little Digger ($5.70), Djay Holden ($38.80) and Oxley Rebel ($3).
Handler Shayne Stiff was highly encouraged by the heat win.
“That should top her off good for Friday night. Her last race before this was a fall so we were a bit worried about how she was going to go, but she really likes Bathurst,” he said.
“With a little bit of luck in the draws you never know. It’s a $15,000 final and a very nice race to win.”
Caitlyn Keeping was best out of the boxes and cut across quickly to the rail.
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That helped her avoid an early squeeze between the remaining seven runners in the early jostle for positions.
Bogan Villa broke clear of that bunch to join Caitlyn Keeping as they dashed past the winning post for the first time.
The race’s rank outsider, Punk Band, used the outside box to avoid the opening corner crunch but the rest of the field weren’t so lucky.
The two biggest losers out of that contact were Rostered On and Hollywood, who would never recover their ground and would end up filling out the last two finishing positions.
Caitlyn Keeping entered the back straight with a two length gap over Bogan Villa who in turn had a big five length break over the bunch.
Djay Holden was leading that chasing group ahead of Little Digger while Oxley Rebel was almost making up ground along the rail.
Bogan Villa was fading badly on the turn for home but Caitlyn Keeping was experienced no such trouble as she maintained her high pace.
In the second Bathurst Cup heat of the night it was another inside starter, Nangar Gift, who led the field home after hitting the front on the opening turn.
Double Up Dee, Kitboolou Corza and Que Fever were the other qualifiers.
Race favourite Drink Schooners ($1.80) surprisingly missed the cut for the top four.