Murray's six-year drought is broken


Graeme Murray revealed Kenny's World had been retired for good soon after his first winner at Kembla Grange in six years.

While his father, Bede, and brother, Paul, have been no strangers to the winner's enclosure on their home track, the lower-profile Graeme has worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

He now only has three horses in work under his name and has shelved plans for Kenny's World to race on after plucking him out of the retirement paddock for a brief campaign last year.

But there was a fair sense of irony in Cassano's drought-breaking win on Saturday as prolific hoop Grant Buckley, who booted home Kenny's World to his maiden win back in 2007, was again the man of the moment.

"I've had a couple of placings here, but I don't think I've had a winner since Kenny's World," Murray said of his drought at Kembla.

Closer inspection showed he was right as Cassano, heavily backed when nosed out at Kembla last start, atoned with an all-the-way win in the Maiden Handicap (1300m) for the boys.

"When I first got him he was a big, raw green horse and he showed us enough to tell us he'd win a race," Murray said.

"I just kept him ticking over and upped his work a little bit to cover the 1300 [metres]. We had him pretty fit for the first up over 1200 [metres] anyway.

"There's nothing in town so I'll probably come back here for a Class 1 in a fortnight and then probably have a look in town after that. If there's one [race] in town I would go to town, but there's not a lot around."

Buckley urged Cassano ($3.60) to the lead and despite a brief challenge from Gwenda Markwell's Anglo American ($15) was never really troubled in steaming to a 2¾-length win.

Anglo American battled on for third while Green Empire ($3.20f) and Tigidig Tigidig ($6), both slow away, flashed home down the outside for third and fourth.

Buckley has been no stranger to a frustrating spell at Kembla himself, with Cassano's win being his first at Kembla since late October. The prolific provincial hoop is struggling to stay in contention for the champion jockey title which he won just two seasons ago.

"He did it at both ends so it was a really good win," Buckley said of Cassano's effort. "He's a bit fitter [now] and he's still learning. I think he's going to be a nice horse when they stretch him out to 1400 [metres]. He's got that high cruising speed and he can pick up and let down off that."

Meanwhile, apprentice Brodie Loy attracted the unwanted attention of stewards for changing his riding boots after weighing out for the Class 2 Handicap (1600m).

Loy was slugged with a $200 fine for weighing in slightly lighter on Bede Murray's Chosen Song after opting to ride in a different pair of footwear to those which he jumped on the scales with.

Stewards were satisfied Loy wasn't deliberately trying to gain an unfair advantage with the change of boots, but handed down a penalty nonetheless.

They also questioned his handling of Chosen Song at the top of the straight, but Murray had told Loy not put the mare under pressure too early fearing she would struggle to run out the mile, which the stewards took into account. Chosen Song ran third.

Graeme Murray

Graeme Murray


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