Pants On Fire blazing towards Western Districts qualifier

The Dar Lunn-trained Pants On Fire has won three of her past four races. Image: Racing Photography.

The Dar Lunn-trained Pants On Fire continues to defy doubters, with the five-year-old showcasing her Country Championships credentials at Bathurst on Thursday. 

The Kuroshio mare, which has now won four from her past seven, including three victories this preparation, carried 60kg to victory in the 1300m Benchmark 58 Handicap after Coriah Keatings’ two-kilogram claim.

The apprentice delivered a good ride and a well-timed run as Pants On Fire ($7) won by a half-head from the Robert Quinn-trained Charlie Foxtrot (Stefano Cherchi, $6), while a half-length away in third was the Dale Wagstaff-trained Obelius (William Stanley, $3.80).

Keatings picked up the ride with Chelsea Hillier suspended, and Lunn praised the Canberra-based apprentice for getting the job done. 

“Chelsea would’ve been on her, but she is suspended, and she likes the girls and the weight off, and Coriah claimed two (kilograms),” Lunn told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“She’s been riding well; it was another good ride.”

The Dubbo galloper beat some nice horses home, and Lunn was always confident of a strong showing.

“It was a good little race, but I expected her to go well,” Lunn said.

“At home the other day, she was 34 days between runs, and Braith should have gone forward, but they went back, and she over-raced. 

“I put a line through that run, and I thought backing her up would suit her, and she proved that.”

Pants On Fire will now head towards the Western Districts Country Championships qualifier at Coonamble on March 17, and she will be one of the form runners in the $150,000 race. 

“That was her fifth win, so she won’t have another run,” Lunn said. 

“We might give her an easy trial at Dubbo sometime in between, but the qualifier will be her next start.”

It’s set to be an excellent heat, with Clint Lundholm hoping to race Listen To The Band and Brett Robb likely starting Gallant Star, but Lunn believes his mare deserves a chance against her more fancied rivals. 

“I don’t know what Brett and Clint have going for the race, but she is going good at the moment, and I think she is worthy of going around in the race,” Lunn said. 

Joining Pants On Fire in the qualifier will be stablemate Elson Boy. 

A three-time winner, the four-year-old won back-to-back races at Dubbo in December and Orange in January, and last time out, finished second in a 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Mudgee on Sunday. 

“He will head that way and is going around at Dubbo Friday-week in a (Benchmark) 58 1300m, and everything going right there; he is going to Coonamble,” Lunn said.

Excitement is building ahead of the Coonamble qualifier, and adding to what should be an intriguing day is the addition of leading jockeys James Orman, Tommy Berry and Sam Clipperton.

For more on the 2024 Country Championships, click here.