Cambridge trainer Arna Donnelly continued a stellar season at Addington on Saturday where she recorded her first Group One placing as a trainer.
Donnelly tipped both Baquero and In The Shadows as top-five chances heading into the Gr.1 4YO Diamond (1980m) and that proved to be the case, with In The Shadows running third, while Baquero was luckless back in fifth.
“It was my first Group One placing,” Donnelly said. “It was a super run by that horse (In The Shadows), she is just so brave. She has so many little niggles and to come out and do that was a really great effort.”
While pleased with both mares, Donnelly thought Baquero would have been a good chance at running into a placing had she not been hindered by a tiring Betterthankaty late in the race.
“It was a bit of a tragedy, when that other one (Betterthankaty) stopped in front of her she could not get out anywhere. She lost momentum at a crucial time and for her to pick it back up and get home for fifth was a really good effort.
“Had that not happened, they never would have beaten the winner, but she would have definitely been a chance of running a place.
“I’m proud of both of them, I was really happy with them. It was their first trip away as well.
“It was a big thing for them and they handled it well.”
Donnelly’s blue and white colours were represented for a third time on the day when Double Rocket competed in the Gr.1 3YO Emerald (1980m).
The son of American Ideal lost all chance at the start when eager off the gate, leaving driver Scott Phelan no option but to press forward with his charge.
“We did know that the one horse (Heisenberg) wanted to lead and our intention was to try and not do that (contest the lead), but Scott was a bit of a passenger out of the gate with him, so he had no option (but to try and press forward). He just did too much early,” Donnelly said.
While Double Rocket finished towards the tail of the field on Saturday, Donnelly has been pleased with his progress and is looking forward to an exciting season next term with the rising four-year-old.
“He came a long way this season, he only qualified (for the Jewels) this time in,” she said.
“It was a bit disappointing (on Saturday), but if you look at the big picture he should be a nice horse next year.”
All three stablemates are set to return to Cambridge this week, and while Double Rocket will head to the spelling paddock, it is likely Donnelly will press on with her two mares.
“It’s only the end of Double Rocket’s season,” she said. “He will go to the paddock when he gets home. Baquero will probably carry on racing and In The Shadows, we will have a meeting and assess what we do with her from here on in.”
With still two months remaining in the season, Donnelly has already surpassed her previous best tallies in both wins and prizemoney and she is hoping her stellar run continues into next season.
Donnelly and her fellow Cambridge trainers will be able to look forward to a home track advantage at next year’s running of the Jewels, with Cambridge Raceway retaining the hosting rights for the rich meeting in 2020, with racing set to take place at the Waikato track on May 29 and 30. – Cambridge Raceway
Race Replay: Gr.1 4YO Diamond