Jockey Chad Lever walked away sore but uninjured from a race fall, in a bitter-sweet afternoon for premier Kembla Grange trainer Gwenda Markwell.
Lever complained of arm soreness and was stood down from his final two rides on Thursday, after three-year-old gelding suffered a suspected heart attack in running in just his fifth start, a 1200m Class 1 Handicap.
“Got away pretty much unscathed today, a little sore is all,” Lever posted on Twitter.
“Hopefully wake up fine then onto Scone (on Friday).”
Cleared of serious injury, the incident came after the Markwell gelding Captain Manering reminded everyone why he’s a track specialist at home at Kembla Grange.
Markwell started putting the icing on another training premiership cake, as the stable veteran overwhelmed the highly-fancied Bjorn Baker favourite Spencer and Theresa Bateup’s Fleeting Stryke, who carried 60 kilograms in a grinding effort for second.
Captain Manering now has five of his six wins at Kembla Grange, having been in the first three in 13 of 25 starts at the track.
It was Markwell’s 20th win of the campaign, which will end on July 31, continuing her remarkable streak of Kembla Grange domination as the top trainer.
Sydney trainer John Thompson scored an early double, with Blake Spriggs leading from the front to score with three-year-old colt Kaecilius breaking his maiden as heavily-supported favourite over 1400m.
It came after first-starter Jay Ford swooped late on two-year-old filly Bang On Target salted at $27, after producing a stunning last 200m to swamp Markwell’s Bisque ($41) and the Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott odd-on favourite Fast Stepping.
“Clearly got plenty of ability,” Proven Thoroughbreds’ Jamie Walter said afterwards.
“We got her for Easter, I’ve got to credit the trainer (Thompson) for picking her out, although I was attracted to her because we used to have a horse called Digital Fortress, who was a Savabeel a few years ago. A few years ago? About 15 years ago.
“Anyway, he’s a half to the dam.”
Before the thunderstorms hit the southern Illawarra on Thursday afternoon, Canberra trainer Joseph Ible returned to Kembla Grange for the second time in a month, for another successful mission. Ible’s four-year-old mare Bella Amante dominated a 1600m Class 2 Handicap to end the day, jockey Tim Clark’s second win for the day, winning by more than a length ahead of Kembla Grange trainer Theresa Bateup’s Taqueda.
Clark was on Jason Coyle’s three-year-old filly Suo Jure, who edged out Mick Tubman’s first-starter Micks New Chick in a thrilling battle in the straight.