WHAT'S the best way to live up to favouritism? How about a 21.6 metres win in a track record time?
Prior to Friday night's New South Wales Breeders Challenge Western Region Final for three-year-old colts and geldings, Oberon trainer Wayne White felt his runner Jerulas Grin deserved his $1.25 favouritism.
As the Grinfromeartoear x Jerula Rose gelding proceeded to blow away his rivals in the 1,740 metres feature at Wagga's Riverina Paceway with a 1:51.6 mile rate it was easy to see why White held that opinion.
"I was probably a little bit surprised with the time, but the horse can run time, he showed that in Bathurst when he broke the three-year-old record," White said.
"Whereas I thought he was too short in the main Breeders Final, I thought he was a deserved favourite this week.
"It is a delight to see him win like that, but he won his heat by a similar margin and the horse than won the other heat at Wagga [Rock Fisherman] ran second to him when he ran the track record in Bathurst and got beaten by a similar margin."
From barrier seven driver Jason Turnbull opted out of the early speed battle. He then guided Jerulas Grin three wide and by the time the bell sounded, the favourite had the lead.
"He would rather let him work for a quarter like that rather than give him a really sharp, early burn, get him in an early speed battle," White said of Turnbull's tactics.
"Since Jason has started driving the horse he has consistently driven him that way. I don't tell him how to drive the horses, if I thought I had to tell him how to drive I'd have someone else on him."
With around 500m to run Turnbull asked Jerulas Grin to give again and he quickly zipped away from his rivals. He led by 15m into the final bend and that gap widened as he sprinted down the straight.
He finished 21.6m clear of runner-up Slick Blaster ($26).
White was not the only Bathurst district trainer celebrating success in one of the NSW Breeders Challenge Western Region finals.
The Lagoon trainer-driver Steve Turnbull guided Im Desirable ($5) to success in the two-year-old fillies decider.
While she was three wide without cover with a lap to go, Im Desirable got home well to win by a short-half-head over Amanda Turnbull's $3.20 favourite Miss Lemon.
In the two-year-old colts and geldings decider, Bernie Hewitt drove Kashed Up ($5.50) to victory for his daughter-trainer Gemma Hewitt.
He was six back on the pegs as the bell sounded, but came four wide down the home straight to win in a career best 1:52.2 mile rate.