Cambridge trainer Arna Donnelly dominated early proceedings at Alexandra Park on Friday night, taking out the opening two races of the card, including the quinella in the Downbytheseaside at Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (1700m).
The result was special for Donnelly, with race victor Nun Bettor carrying the colours of Donnelly’s father Brent, who purchased the daughter of Bettor’s Delight as a weanling for $7,000.
The three-year-old filly had been in good form prior to Friday, placing in two of her three starts, and Donnelly was pleased to secure the win for her father.
“It was fantastic to get one for Dad in his colours,” Donnelly said.
“She has done a really good job and it helps having a little bit of gate speed. It was nice to see her get the win finally.”
Stablemate The Longest Day ran home well to finish three-quarters of a length back in second, and Donnelly believes it won’t be too long before she also claims her maiden win.
“She went really great as well,” Donnelly said. “She probably cost herself a little bit when she got her head around and went a bit rough. That will be something to work on, but she is a horse to follow, that’s for sure.”
While Donnelly was pleased to record the quinella, she was also rapt with Fira’s winning performance in the race prior.
The six-year-old daughter of Thanksgiving began well from her ace draw, securing the trail behind Prince George before slingshotting up the passing lane to record a 1-3/4 length victory.
“It was a good win by Fira, she really deserved that,” Donnelly said. “She tries hard and has been racing well without getting everything her own way, so it was really pleasing to see her do that.
“She got a great draw, which always helps, and she was given a great drive by Scott (Phelan).”
Donnelly wasn’t finished for the night, with New York Minute posting a brave runner-up result over 2200m behind Be My Rock.
“He is a lovely little horse,” she said. “I thought it was a really good run from him. He had to do it tough.
“He has just got really good manners and hopefully he is going to shape into quite a nice horse. He has been racing really well, running home every week with halves in 55s and
running thirds and fourths. You have got to be good at Auckland, but he is racing well and will pick one up shortly.”
Donnelly has now set her sights towards her home meeting at Cambridge Raceway on Tuesday.
Stable junior driver and reigning New Zealand Cadet of the Year Kaleb Bublitz will be aiming to record his first driving victory behind his own horse Turkish Trousers in the Farmlands Mobile Pace (1700m), while Donnelly is looking forward to Young Conqueror tackling the Melbourne Cup Day 2 Mile Handicap Pace (3200m).
The seven-win gelding had previously finished unplaced in his only other start over the distance, when trained by Brett Gray in Southland, and Donnelly is looking for a better result on Tuesday.
“Young Conqueror has just had a wee freshen-up and his work has been spot-on,” she said.
“We are just hoping he can find his manners for the stand. I think he will like the two miles, so fingers-crossed he gets away, gets a good trip and hopefully he will be right there at the finish line.” – Cambridge Raceway
Race Replay: Arna Donnelly got the quinella in the Downbytheseaside at Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (1700m) with Nun Bettor and The Longest Day.