It was the Ben Waldron and Shannon Apthorpe show at Roma Turf Club’s St Johns School race day on Saturday as they each posted a winning treble on the 6-race programme at Bassett Park. An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a perfect Winter day and some excellent racing action for the annual fundraiser for the St John’s Parent & Friends Committee.
Race 1 – Raspberry Bullets
Ben Waldron’s winning run got underway early with Raspberry Bullets taking out the first race of the day in the LSA Demolition Class B, defeating the Wayne Baker-trained duo of Club Roller by 4¼ lengths with Para Park Makeup a ½ length away in third. Jockey Shannon Apthorpe, who also had a winning treble from his full book of 6 rides, brought the mare to the outside of the early leaders on the home turn before sprinting away in the straight stopping the clock at an even 60.00 seconds for the 1000 metres.
Photo: Race 2 – Dynamic Verse
Chinchilla trainer Leonard Mawn has made regular raids on Bassett Park of late and continued that winning run with Dynamic Verse winning the Raham Engineering Open 1000m by ¾ of a length from High Cost and Coynes Road a further ¾ of a length away in third. Jockey Shannon Apthorpe found himself at the tail of the field on jumping away, but quickly made up ground to round up the field moving away in the straight to win handsomely in a time of 59.57 seconds. Never one to shy away from travelling his team, Mawn has taken Dynamic Verse to race at Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Emerald, and Wondai as well as Roma since the Bel Esprit gelding joined his stable.
Photo: Race 3 – Real Hussey
Ben Waldron’s next victory came up in the third race of the day with Real Hussey in the Santos BM60 Handicap downing Heat by ½ a length and Charleville visitor Bionic running third a further 1¼ lengths back. In a similar racing pattern to the first two races of the day, apprentice Jacob Golden made a move around 400m from home and had to come from the tail of the field to round up the early leaders at the home turn to win running away in a time of 1.12:94 for the 1200 metres. Heat had been becoming something of a Roma track specialist since joining the Leonard Mawn stable when owner Jack Cavanagh sent him north from Scone in New South Wales, picking up 2 wins and a 4th from 3 runs on the sand at Roma prior to Saturday’s 2nd placing.
Photo: Race 4 – Bindango
Favourite backers were back on terms with themselves when Bindango won the Roma Sands Maiden Plate for apprentice Tamara Noble and Roma trainer Wayne Baker. Noble took Bindango to the outside to challenge for the lead around 700m from home, before gaining a winning lead in the home straight defeating Rogue Artist by 2¾ lengths and stablemate to the winner Bean Fortunate finishing third a further 2¼ lengths back. Bindango had finished in the placings at the past 3 Roma meetings before breaking through for his maiden victory on Saturday in a time of 1.13:76 for the 1200 metres.
Photo: Race 5 – Peshwa
It was win number three for the day for both jockey and trainer when Shannon Apthorpe and Ben Waldron combined with Peshwa to take out the Summit Open Handicap of 1640 metres, defeating track specialist Waitakere and St George Cup winner Salazar. Apthorpe had the grey sitting handy behind the early leaders before making a move at the 400 metre mark to duke it out with Toowoomba visitor Waitakere in the straight before running away to score by 1½ lengths with the third place getter a ½ a length away in a time of 1.43:65. The flashy grey was previously with Robbie Griffiths and Matthew de Kock in Victoria before joining the Waldron stable, and has now won twice from three starts for Ben – his first win was the first start for the stable in a Class 1 on Mungindi Cup day last month.
Photo: Race 6 – Our Spider
The day finished off with Toowoomba visitor Our Spider winning the Crawfo’s BM65 Handicap for apprentice Landan Sykes and trainer Paul Edwards. In a patient ride, Sykes brought Our Spider wide on the home turn running down Laurie in the last 50 metres to win by a ½ a length with Jakkalberry Finn a neck back in third, stopping the clock at 1.44:48. Edwards has also been clocking up plenty of miles of late taking Our Spider and stablemates Waitakere and Roots’N’Rocks on the road to Longreach, Muttaburra, Bundaberg and Gympie in recent weeks.
The next race meeting for the Roma Turf Club is the largest and richest meeting west of the Divide – the famous Roma Cup meeting on Saturday November 18th, featuring a bumper 7 race TAB card and $193,000 in prizemoney up for grabs. Once again, Roma plays host to the last qualifying races for the 2023 Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede Series, and this year the Roma Turf Club is proud to welcome their new official 2023 Cup sponsor – The Club Hotel Roma. Plans are well underway for another bumper day of exciting racing, the fabulous Fashions On The Field with fantastic prizes, and the ever-popular live entertainment to keep racegoers rocking once the sun sets in the west. General Entry Tickets with the Early Bird discount are on sale now or treat yourself and upgrade to the air-conditioned Cup Start Marquee – tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday August 26th). Roma Turf Club also advises that sales of 2023/24 Memberships close today (Friday August 25th), with membership benefits including free gate entry to all Roma Turf Club race meets during the 2023/2024 racing season; discounted tickets to the Roma Cup Members Marquee; and financial membership of the Roma Turf Club, receiving all privileges with full voting and nomination rights.