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Santa Dashes to Victory on End of Year Cluden Card
Cairns trainer Rodney Miller is predicting bigger things for the lightly raced Santa Marinella after a dominant win at Cluden Park yesterday.
With jockey of the moment Lacey Morrison in the saddle, Santa Marinella made short work of his rivals in the Trackside Photography 3YO Hcp (1300m).
Miller, who prepared the smart Cleaver Green for a string of big three-year-old wins last season, says Santa Marinella could be his next stable star.
“We bought him cheap but I thought he was going to be pretty good from day one,” Miller said.
“He’s been unlucky in a lot of his runs, especially at his last start at Cluden when he finished third (to Hallside Hammer).
“Lacey thought he should have won and today she made sure of it with a great ride.
“No one is riding better and she’s pretty much spot on with her judgement. She also gives you great feedback which is a big help.
“I’ll keep the horse going for another 1300m in three weeks’ time and then turn him out and bring him back for the better 3yo races.
“He’s a horse that will get better over a bit of ground and the way he’s developing I think he could be a cups horse next year.”
Santa Marinella brought up the first leg of a race to race double for Morrison and capped a memorable result for Miller who also trained the third placegetter Spirit Meister.
Morrison landed her second win on $13 pop Conquering Judas for trainer Graham Hughes in the TAB B60 Hcp (1609m) .
The Tablelands-based rider has now kicked to a clear lead in the Townsville jockeys’ premiership with 15 wins for the season.
Townsville trainer Alby Molino is thankful he decided a month ago to defer a spell for the promising Focus who brought up his fourth win from five starts in the Brown Brothers B70 Hcp (1000m).
Molino said he was tempted to spell the four-year-old after his maiden win in early November but decided to press on for his big syndicate of owners in SJ Racing.
“Thank God I didn’t turn him out. He’s won three races since and ran an unlucky second at his only other start.
“I was worried today with the rails draw but Marnu (Potgieter) did a great job to get him away from the fence and bring him with that big run.
“I’ll give him 4 to 6 weeks off and then try and win a few more to get his ratings up and maybe see if we can get into the Cleveland Bay or the Newmarket.
“I think he will be at his best around 1200m to 1300m and with a sit he has that great turn of foot.
“He’s really flying at the moment… but as they say good horses can make you look good.”
Costly sprinter Silent Explorer ended a 16 month winning drought with a last stride win in the Happy New Year Open Hcp (1400m).
The Stephen Massingham-trained six-year-old enjoyed a gun Nathan Day ride and made a late dive to collar the brave Hell Of A Boy on the post and get the judge’s verdict by a head.
Pictured: Jockey Lacey Morrison urges Santa Marinella to a dominant win at Cluden Park yesterday.
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