Noah’s Smile, ridden by David Simmons, leads the field home in the Gladstone Harbour Festival Class 2 Handicap.
Noah’s Smile, ridden by David Simmons, leads the field home in the Gladstone Harbour Festival Class 2 Handicap. Christopher Chan GLARACE

Outsiders have run of races

AN EASTER crowd of more than 2000 packed Gladstone's Ferguson Park racecourse on Saturday and with four outsiders winning on the busy six-race card, punters were well and truly caught on the hop.

Visiting Mackay jockey David Simmons was in the good books and the bad books with punters. His four winners included two upsets, with Hunting Lodge and Noah's Smile each winning as $7.00 chances.

Simmons also book-ended the program, riding the only two successful favourites, Duan Allibar ($3.80) and Who's The Dude Now ($3.00).

Denis Schultz, the longest-serving resident trainer at Ferguson Park, is usually a reliable source to win at least one race at a Gladstone meeting and that he did with Duan Allibar, which he also owns, in the Class 1 (850m).

Simmons brought the Aaron McLaughlin-trained Hunting Lodge (Noverre-Miss Bricourt) down the outside to win the Class 5 Handicap (1000m) with a strong finish from Startova (Kelly Gates, $7.00).

He did likewise on Bill Melvin's Taimazov (ARG) gelding Noah's Smile in the Class 2 (1194m).

Trainer John Pointon's Who's The Dude Now (Stromberg Carlson-Reliquary) proved to be both a sand track specialist and a durable horse as well with his convincing win over Zip Zip Girl (Chris McIver, $3.20) in the Class B (1517m).

Less than 48 hours before Saturday's win, Who's The Dude Now tailed the field home in a Class 3 Plate (1800m) on the grass at Callaghan Park in Rockhampton.

Who's The Dude Now has won twice and recorded two placings from four Gladstone starts, proving he grows another leg when racing on the sand.

Such is also the case with youthful Rockhampton trainer Jared Wehlow's gift horse Teddy Bare (NZ), which won the inaugural $10,000 Greg McCann Memorial (1194m) after engaging in a virtual two-horse war with Frenardi (NZ, Billie-Rose Derbyshire, $2.70).

The two horses won feature races at Ferguson Park in last August's Gladstone Cup (1608m - Teddy Bare) and in the Newmarket (1194m - Frenardi).

Therefore, it came as a major upset when Teddy Bare (Tracy O'Hara, $11.00) showed sufficient speed to race close-up in second spot behind Frenardi, until joining and overhauling him about 150 metres from the finish.

In a fitting finish to the Greg McCann Memorial, the two top sand horses matched strides until Teddy Bare got the better and nudged-out Frenardi by a head at the finish.

Wehlow, 24 and training for only 18 months, is making a good fist of training but he had to admit that it was his partner, winning rider Tracy O'Hara, who deserved most of the credit for Saturday's win.

"I was keen to take Teddy to Toowoomba for a longer race tonight but Tracy virtually begged me to run him at Gladstone instead," Wehlow said immediately after the McCann win.

"Just goes to prove I'm the better judge," O'Hara piped-in.

Rockhampton owner-trainer John Crane saddled up his first starter since August 2009 and it proved to be a winner, when French Garrison (Mark Barnham, $8.00) led all the way to win the $10,000 QTIS Maiden Plate (1000m).

Crane acquired the Garrison Savannah-French Holiday debutant by chance more than design.

"He was a reject, in that nobody at the sales wanted him. I had a look at him later on and he looked OK to me, so I got him.

"I turned him out for about a year and now I'm more than happy," Crane, dubbed the Silver Fox, said.

The Gladstone Turf Club's next scheduled date on June 9 features novelty camel races, while the next thoroughbred meeting is Gladstone Cup Day on Saturday, August 11.