Prawns and oysters prospect for patrons at Berry Hotel

Cawdor trainer Paul Fitzpatrick (right) and son Gavin Fitzpatrick will combine with No Ah Saint, who has a cult following at the Berry Hotel, for the Group 1 Breeders Challenge four-year-old entires and geldings final at Menangle on Sunday. Picture: DEAN OSLAND

Cawdor trainer Paul Fitzpatrick (right) and son Gavin Fitzpatrick will combine with No Ah Saint, who has a cult following at the Berry Hotel, for the Group 1 Breeders Challenge four-year-old entires and geldings final at Menangle on Sunday. Picture: DEAN OSLAND

HORSE RACING

They won't be able to keep the townsfolk away from the celebrations at the Berry Hotel if No Ah Saint can claim another Group 1, but the pub's owner Jeff Evans is planning to give the stewards room a wide berth this time.

The Paul Fitzpatrick-trained gelding returns to the Breeders Challenge fray for the four-year-old final at Menangle on Sunday - almost two years after winning the two-year-old decider on protest.

It denied Kerry-Ann Turner a maiden Group 1 at the time, but she returns with three runners, including Blissfull Guy who was relegated to second in that protest, for the $100,000 final for the entires and geldings.

"I made a fool of myself in the stewards room, just quietly, and I think I let the emotion get to me," Evans said. "I don't think they should let owners speak in protests.

"He certainly has a following, though.

"If he happens to win, we'll be having the prawns and oysters on Tuesday arvo [at the pub]."

Added Fitzpatrick: "I felt for Kerry Ann, but he deserved the protest and he was always going to win it."

Evans bred No Ah Saint from his Group 1-winning broodmare La Saint and lists his daughter Stacey Hinkley, Larissa Timmins, Lynette Philpott and her nephew David Hardie among the co-owners.

Mary Ann Evans, the daughter of pacing legend Kevin Robinson, also has a share in the horse.

Both trainer and co-owners agree No Ah Saint's three-year-old season was a disappointing one, but he's back at his peak for a return to the Group 1 fray after a short spell in Berry.

"I felt a bit silly picking him up on the Wednesday and then taking him back on the Thursday," Evans laughed of the week-long spell. "It works for Peter Snowden though.

"When he won on Saturday night, I said, 'I want all the credit', but he's a little unassuming horse with that high speed.

"He's a sit-and-sprint type horse and if they run along he can [surprise them]."

As big a day as it might turn out at the Berry Hotel, it shapes as an even bigger one for veteran Cawdor trainer Fitzpatrick.

His talented mare Grin For Miss shadows $1.10 hotpot Frith in betting for the four-year-old mares final, while outstanding juvenile Sally Fletcher heads markets ($3) for the two-year-old fillies equivalent.

"She's a lovely filly and has done well during a good season," Fitzpatrick said of Sally Fletcher. "She's been set for this all year and she's got everything going for her.

"She's a beautiful filly and has a really, really good gait and nothing really worries her."

On the Junee-based Frith being quoted at the rock bottom $1.10 quote for the mares final, Fitzpatrick said: "She's probably entitled to be."

Meanwhile, Menangle will now have metropolitan maiden pacers racing for $25,000 on a weekly basis, the highest level in Australia, from the start of the new financial year.

It completed an about-turn on programming changes initiated earlier this year which decreased the level of prize money for M0 horses.

It was the main selling point in a new prize money schedule for 2014-15, which also includes a $30,000 open class race each week as long as it doesn't clash with the feature races of other NSW clubs.

The new schedule lifts the prize money for those horses breaking their metropolitan maiden status.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop