Sir Ravanelli Country Championships bound after Tuncurry qualifier win

The ever-consistent Sir Ravanelli for Terry Evans will contest the Country Championships final after winning today’s Mid North West qualifier at Forster Tuncurry Jockey Club. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Terry Evans will be the first person to tell you that Sir Ravanelli hasn’t been the easiest horse to train. 

The striking grey gelding – that is by Iffraaj and out of Stardom – has battled hoof issues, and while learning his trade as a racehorse, he’s left a win or two out on the track during an enigmatic 12-start career that has still yielded five wins, four placings, while earning just shy of $200,000 in prizemoney. 

Still, despite the challenges thus far, the five-year-old put it all together in the $150,000 Mid North Coast Country Championships qualifier at Forster Tuncurry Jockey Club on Sunday.

With Darryl ‘Digger’ McLellan in the saddle, Sir Ravanelli started a $6 chance, and the pair landed a convincing 0.58 of a length win over the Grant Jobson-trained Imatruestar (Koby Jennings, $11), while in third and 1.9 lengths back was the Glen Milligan-trained Swamp Nation (Louise Day, $5.50).

Evans was thrilled with the win, and the Tuncurry trainer praised his loyal owners for sticking by him and their talented horse. 

“I can’t mate, no I can’t – what a week,” Evans replied when asked how to describe the victory and a big week leading into the Mid North Coast qualifier. 

“Just for the owner’s sake, it’s a big thrill and they deserve it after all the money they’ve put in, and we worked hard to get him there, but I’m just so excited, and there are a lot of people I need to thank, and I’ll thank them during the week.”

It’s no secret that Sir Ravanelli has been forced to deal with a fair share of dramas, but Evans was pleased to see him put it altogether for connections.  

“He’s had feet issues, and everyone knows that, and we’ve had bar shoes on him but we’ve worked on his feet for months and it’s all come together,” Evans said.

“… there is a big team behind us, and a lot of staff worked overtime this week and it’s just great.”

McLellan did everything right on Sir Ravanelli, and he had nothing but praise for the talented gelding. 

“He did everything right for me, and there are no vices with him at all now, or I can’t find one,” McLellan 

“We just come out of the barriers, and I just let him take his time to get there and I could have ridden him anywhere I wanted to in the race; I could’ve ridden him third, fourth, or fifth if I drew a gate, and he would have really accelerated when I pushed the button.”

Despite starting from gate 13, Sir Ravanelli was able the kick-up around the field and sit second behind early leader Run Rory Run and that’s when McLellan knew he was on the winner. 

“It was all over then, it was all over,” McLellan said.

“(He went as) straight as a gun barrel, he is just looking to win races now, and not looking to throw races away.”

The popular country hoop is excited to be teaming up with the Tuncurry galloper in the rich final. 

“That’s good because he’s a legitimate chances, that’s for sure,” McLellan said. 

Sir Ravanelli and Imatruestar will now represent the Mid North Coast in the $500,000 Country Championship final at Royal Randwick on April 1, while the next heat of the series will be the Central West qualifier at Mudgee on February 19.

For more on the series click here and for the results at Tuncurry click here