Kembla Grange: King's pain eased by Rock
Gai Waterhouse's dual stakes success with her two-year-olds at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Day was mirrored at the less influential surrounds of Kembla Grange courtesy of a jockey with a floating screw in his knee.
While Tommy Berry's fly-in-fly-out mission rewarded Waterhouse in Queensland, veteran Paul King is starting to take flight in this state after he left Western Australia as one of its top hoops.
King broke his leg during a barrier mishap at Kembla in January - yet he managed to ride his mount out to the finish despite his knee crashing heavily into the gates as the field was released.
He's returned to trackwork with Waterhouse and used all his experience to navigate an inside run on the pint-sized million-dollar yearling Mumbai Rock to win the Kembla opener on Saturday.
"It aches a lot because when they screwed it back together.
"I went back to race riding and snapped the screw [at Newcastle]," King said.
"The fracture was displaced and I went back to see the specialist and he said, 'I'm not going to touch it so just keep going'.
"I've got a snapped screw in there somewhere and a fracture away from the bone.
"I'm putting up with it. It's not sore, it just aches."
But with each winning ride the pain eases for one of the jockey room's most respected riders.
King watched Berry steer Sports Edition to victory in the Listed two-year-old event at Eagle Farm and then cheered as Almalad downed Brazen Beau to win the Group 1 JJ Atkins on Queensland's most prestigious day of racing.
The ambitions are a lot more circumspect for $1.55 million yearling Mumbai Rock, who stalked the early speed before rushing to her first win at start No 3.
She had previously bumped into Blue Diamond winner Earthquake and stablemate Almalad at her first two starts.
"I think she'll be a bit more progressive next time in and is probably a mid-week horse if she really develops when she comes back from her break," King said.
"Whether she develops into a Saturday horse ... I couldn't really say at this stage.
"When she hit the front she stargazed a little bit so you can see she's going to improve down the road."
Mumbai Rock ($3.70), which dived back to the inside as leader Miss Granger ($5) wilted in the straight, cruised to a one-length win from Wendy Walter's fast-finishing Chosen Prayer ($2.80f).
Murta Cape ($5) loomed to win at the furlong pole but could finish no better than third.
"I always thought [the gap] was probably going to open," King said.
"Watching most race meetings ... generally at Kembla you get an inside run. At other tracks you don't."
Parker wary of Anantha’s easy win
If her owners were looking for a nice picture of Anantha’s first race win, they would be struggling to find any other horse in the frame.
But Kerry Parker is already a little suspicious of the form emerging from his filly’s maiden win after a nine-length romp on her home track on Saturday.
‘‘I’m a little bit sceptical about the form out of that race but she did everything right and we like her as you can tell from last start when she ran into a good one,’’ Parker said.
‘‘She’s doing everything right and at this time of year we’ll just keep placing her.’’
In a handful of starts, Anantha has earned a reputation as a back marker, but apprentice Brodie Loy asked Anantha to sit outside leader Huangdi ($41) early on.
After idling to the lead shortly after turning for home, 2kg claimer Loy pushed the ‘go’ button on Anantha and she quickly gapped the field.
Loy rode out the Hussonet filly as she surged away for the easiest of wins in class record time.
‘‘That was quite painless,’’ Parker said.
‘‘We thought she’d win last start but we just ran into one that was too good on the day. She put them away [on Saturday] though and with Brodie’s claim she had no weight so she put herself in the race.
‘‘I said to him she’s probably best ridden with cover, but not to be worried from that gate, if you land outside the leader...just ride her. That’s all he did and I don’t think he knew he had won by so far.’’
Anantha landed a flurry of late bets in the Kembla ring, trimmed from $4 into $3 very late in betting.
Darley’s easing favourite Ventura ($1.80 out to $2.20) had to be bustled early to take up a position after starting slowly and could only battle away into third.
Terry Robinson’s King’s Officer ($10) was second.
In other news, Grant Cooksley was suspended until Thursday for careless riding aboard King’s Officer. Stewards asserted that, at the 1100m mark he allowed his mount to shift in when not clear of Dover Street ($7).
Parker completed a home-track double when La Grand Fille ($5.50) scored over 2000m.
In race six, Gwenda Markwell’s Totally Devoted ($3.50fav), part owned by Illawarra Turf Club members, scored by 4 lengths in a C2 Handicap (1200m).