Hazelton and Rogers leave favourite punters begging for mercy at Coonabarabran

James Rogers guided the Kieren Hazelton-trained Beg Me to victory at Coonababran on Saturday. Image: Racing Photography.

Acquired through a stable dispersal last year, the six-year-old gelding Beg Me was a surprise winner on Saturday at Coonabarabran for Gilgandra trainer Kieren Hazelton.  

Unplaced at several starts since joining the Hazelton stable, Beg Me, the $26 rank outsider in the 1600m Elders Benchmark 50 Handicap, had dropped to last approaching the home turn.  

Responding to vigorous riding by Gilgandra-based James Rogers, Beg Me reeled in the leaders and won by two lengths from Intense (Zoe Hunt, $9), a margin similar to that of third-placed Felis (Chelsea Hillier, $3.22 favourite).  

Local trainer Wayne Martyn, who prepares both Intense and Felis, also went close with The Hoff in the 1100m Reggie’s Rum Baradine Maiden Handicap.  

Starting a $31 outsider, The Hoff (Zoe Hunt) led until the closing stages but was overhauled and beaten a half-length by the Luke Pepper, Scone-trained Lockadente (Patrick Scorse, $5.50) while the $2.25 favourite Sense Of Humour (Mickayle Weir) finished third.  

Chelsea Ings, aboard the Brad Draper, Orange-trained Aero Nautica, won the opening event, the 1400m Coona Cars Classic Maiden Plate.   

In front from the outset, Aero Nautica ($6.50) held off Arlington Girl ( Zoe Hunt, $6) by a head while over 2 lengths away, third was Tarkine (Emma Ly, $31).  

Following the win by James Rogers on Beg Me, another English-born rider, Cobi Vitler, won the 1600m Do It For Cancer Class 1 & Maiden Plate on the Cody Morgan, Tamworth-trained Social Outcast.  

Holding a slender lead turning for home, Social Outcast ($2.70 favourite) cleared out to score by four lengths from Ready For Lift Off (Ken Dunbar, $21) and A Pound Of Salt (Ashleigh Stanley, $4.60).  

The other winners were the Jeremy Sylvester, Cessnock-trained Cupid’s Kiss (Chelsea Hillier, $3.10 to $2.70 favourite) and Just Jacky (Will Stanley, $7.50), trained at Tamworth by Theresa Stair.  

A big talking point at the meeting was how well the Coonabarabran track handled the heavy rain leading up to Raceday.   

Despite the heavy surface, it was completely safe and very well presented by curators Kerry Vallette and Stewart Rodgers.  

Western and Central Districts racing heads to Wellington for their Wellington Boot Carnival on Friday and Sunday, while splitting those two days is the Grenfell Picnic meeting on Saturday.