Venzano follows doctor's orders at Kembla Grange

Brenton Avdulla on Kerry Parker's Venzano (inside) just outlasts a fast-finishing Tye Angland on Off The Bench to score a maiden win at Kembla Grange on Tuesday. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Brenton Avdulla on Kerry Parker's Venzano (inside) just outlasts a fast-finishing Tye Angland on Off The Bench to score a maiden win at Kembla Grange on Tuesday. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

HORSE RACING

Dr Stuart Mackay wanted a Bon Hoffa yearling from the sales, but it didn't necessarily mean forking out good money for him in the parade ring.

"I was at work and I said to these guys I wanted the Bon Hoffa and identified it," Mackay said. "They said, 'give us a blank cheque' and I said 'go easy'.

"I like seeing these first-season sires get passed in and then go offer them something. Thirty minutes later they rang and said 'we bought one'."

While Mackay joked he might have been stretching the truth a little bit with the yarn about fellow part-owner Tony Stephen, an Illawarra Turf Club director, he's had to extend that patience to the racetrack.

And while 13 might be unlucky for some, it's certainly lucky for others, as the Kerry Parker-trained Venzano finally broke through for his first win in the Maiden Plate (1300m) at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.

"The truth is he's been a good trier this preparation and he deserved a breakthrough win," Mackay said.

It's as much a testament to Parker's ability to place his horses after Venzano ($5.50) swept to the lead inside the final 150 metres before holding on to win by a nose from Off The Bench ($5.50).

Ironically, Parker had actually marked the same Bon Hoffa colt as a potential purchase at the sales before it landed in his stable to be trained.

"When I went back and found him in my catalogue I did like him in the sales," he said. "There were a few good comments about him [in the book] and he's one I easily could have bought.

"His first prep he was just learning and always showed me the ability, but just wouldn't produce it. He'd show me here in jump-outs, but come race day he was just too immature in the brain.

"His last few runs he's just been so unlucky drawing bad gates, having to do the work and he's been a sitting shot. [On Tuesday] with a good barrier and with a soft run it was his chance to hit the line.

"He's out there and tries very hard, he's very adaptable and is starting to do a few things right."

Brenton Avdulla parked three pairs back on the rail in running, shouldering clear at the point of the turn when he forced Off The Bench wide. The latter steamed home over the final 100m, but the post just loomed a little too quickly for Tye Angland's mount in his first run since leaving the stable of troubled Newcastle trainer Darren Smith.

"He just lost his position on the turn and that's what cost him the race," Angland told connections.

Meanwhile, Bede Murray capped a good day for the local trainers after Life Of Reilly ($7) descended late to win the Benchmark 65 Handicap (1400m).

The former Kiwi made it two wins from just three starts this campaign after Angland produced a perfect ride to beat Gwenda Markwell's Rock On Up ($6.50) by 1½ lengths.

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