Home track advantage helps Harrison upstage Sydney visitors

11th December 2023 – Racing Orange – Race 5 – Maiden Plate, 1410m – 1st, Sharing Is Caring, Ken Dunbar / Melissa Harrison

Local trainer Melissa Harrison, with her four-year-old mare Sharing Is Caring, relegated major metropolitan stables to the minor placings in the first leg of the TAB Daily Double on Monday at Orange.

Trained by Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Bjorn Baker and Annabel Neasham, respectively, Flying Chevrolet ($3.40 to $2.60 favourite), Way To Divine ($3.50) and Up And Comer ($4.40), as the only runners at single figure odds in the 12 horse field, were expected to dominate the 1400m Kennards Hire Maiden Plate.

Ridden an outstanding race by Dubbo jockey Ken Dunbar, Sharing Is Caring ($10 to $15) settled midfield on the rails before finishing gamely under vigorous riding to overhaul the leader Flying Chevrolet (Gavin Ryan) in the last stride and win by a short head with Way To Divine (Robbie Downey) a length away third and Up And Comer (Clayton Gallagher) a close fourth.

Bred in Tasmania, Sharing And Caring had two unplaced starts in Victoria. 

Now part-owned by Grenfell Picnic Race Cub president Danny Kotel, the galloper has recorded one win and three placings from five starts under the care of Melissa Harrison at Orange.

Tough stayer Will To Excel with Hawkesbury trainer James Ponsonby has covered plenty of territory over recent months.

Since mid-October, the eight-year-old gelding Will To Excel has finished 3rd at Wagga Wagga on two occasions, over 2500m and 3200m, fifth at Moonee Valley over 3850m and fourth at Warrnambool over 4065m before winning over 2100m at Orange.

Mathew Cahill took advantage of the cutaway rail turning for home at Orange, and Will To Excel ($2.15 favourite) surged along the inside from well back to score by almost three lengths from Our City (Robbie Downey, $2.50) and Kyanite (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $6).

Seven-year-old gelding Gutsy came to Gayna Williams with mediocre form in South Australia and is now unbeaten at three starts for the Bathurst trainer.

Producing a strong run from back in the field, Gutsy (Clayton Gallagher, $1.70 fav.) overwhelmed Kora Magic (Braith Nock, $6.50) and Apollo Star (Ronald Simpson, $7) in the 1000m Southern Cross Austereo Country Boosted Benchmark 58 Handicap.

Another recent addition to the Gayna Williams stable is Dundas, a 14-start Maiden company five-ear-old gelding from Queensland.

First-up for Williams, Dundas (Clayton Gallagher, $3.80) charged home to beat the leader Violet And Blue (Mathew Cahill, $2.50 fav.) and Dubai Oak (Pierre Boudvillain, $11) in the 1000m Ideal Conditions Country Boosted Maiden Handicap.

An impressive debut winner at Mudgee, the Annabel Neasham, Warwick Farm-trained Redford ($1.20 to $1.30 favourite) completed an Orange treble for Clayton Gallagher and again looked well above average when coming from near last and powering to an almost four lengths win in the 1400m McSigns Class 1 Handicap from Girragulang (Michael Heagney, $9) and Poppy’s Girl (Emma Ly. $14).

Making it successive wins, the Rob Potter, Canberra-trained Craving Magic (Jack Martin, $6) finished fast to win the 1290 metres Buckley’s Carpet Court BM 58 Handicap from Doola Teela (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $3.40) and Field Of Myrtle (Robbie Downey, $3.20 fav.) while the Clint Lundholm, Dubbo trained Transplant defeated a good quality field in the 1400 metres Inland Digital BM 74 Handicap.

Sharing the lead at the top of the straight, Transplant (Ronald Simpson, $3.90 fav.) broke clear and held off Memories (Shayleigh Ingelse, $4.40) and Almost Persuaded (Coriah Keatings, $4).

Western and Central Districts Racing Association action heads to Warren (Friday), Coonamble (Sunday) and Bathurst (Monday).