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Marburg to Albion Final is big Buks

Catch up on the weekend’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.

 

THE GOOD

The Marburg to Albion Park Series’ are always popular and the latest running culminated with the Final held at Albion Park on Saturday night.

With five heats held at Marburg on the preceding Sunday, the first two placed runners in each heat progressed through to Saturday’s Final, run over the Albion Park 1660-metre trip.

The Dudley Warburton-trained ten-year-old Bukthsystem claimed the race, using the passing lane to arrive for victory in a new career best of 1.55.5.

In another superb advertisement for the longevity of the standardbred, the PB came at start number 203, recording the 14th win of his career for the rising eleven-year-old.

It was a well-deserved victory, with Bukthsystem having been in great form in recent times and backed up his heat win at Marburg.

In a superb training feat, Bukthsystem has raced at least three times every month consecutively since July 2018.

However, it has not always been smooth sailing with the gelding for his trainer.

“When he was younger, he threw me out of the cart when he was playing up and I fractured two vertebrae in the accident, that’s why we gave him the name Buk,” Warburton said.

“Even now he will pull hard and is keen in the preliminary, yet when he races, he never seems to pull that much.”

And it was at the instruction of his driver Nathan Dawson that some gear adjustments in recent times seem to be paying dividends.

Dawson also may have provided punters with a lead in opting to drive Bukthsystem in Saturday night’s final after having the choice of drives.

“Nathan said to me on Wednesday night with a cheeky grin, by the way, I will be driving Buk on Saturday night because only a bad driver will get him beat,” the trainer said.

That left Dudley with some nerves to overcome as he began to feel a little bit of pressure in breaking a Saturday night victory drought.

Some light-hearted banter between trainers on the night added to the mix.

With trainer Graham White stabled next to Warburton on Saturday, he had a light-hearted jibe with Dawson with regards to how many winners the leading driver had reined home until that point of the evening.

“Nathan replied ‘no worries Whitey, I’m about to get my first’ which then made me feel some more nerves because after what he had said Wednesday as well,” Warburton said.

Dawson delivered on the promise, with a perfect drive to score victory up the passing lane.

Albion Park

TAB MARBURG TO ALBION PARK FINAL 1660m

It was the first Saturday night success for Warburton since the win of Itzallinthetimin back in 2012 and a win that he won’t forget in a hurry.

“It will take a while for this happiness to wear off that’s for sure,” quipped Warburton.

“I hope it’s not another eight years for my next Saturday night winner.”

Asked as to what sort of regime keeps Bukthsytem racing so well and consistently for such a long period now, Warburton was more than happy to reveal his secret.

“Old Buk is just such a beautiful horse, my wife has him looking superb all the time - she looks after that,” he said.

“I mostly let the racing keep him fit and I think when I threatened him a while back when he wasn’t going so well, it got him back into form.

“You see he was racing a bit flat and so I pulled Buk aside and threatened him with retirement!

“That was just what he needed and he turned the corner.”

The entire Warburton family is involved in equine pursuits of some form, with a son involved in rodeo and a daughter in quarter horses.

Buk even has a miniature pony in the yard next to him at the stables and all the family both two and four-legged having a contribution to Bukthsytem and his journey.

“Buk is such a great horse, he even picks his hay up and will carry it to the fence so the pony can share it with him - that’s just him, he is such a great character,” Warburton said.

The next race for Bukthsystem now provides Warburton with another challenge, a dilemma that he is quite happy to be faced with!

 

THE BAD

Happiness was quickly replaced with despair at Redcliffe on Thursday following the ‘win’ of Inciter in Race 3 - the Dan Costello Photography Pace.

Owned and trained by Greg Elkins and driven by his son Matt, Inciter had been winless since December 9, 2018 heading into the race.

Running down the straight, Inciter was first across the line, with Doolittle Dandy using the passing lane second over the line and Major Grandeur third.

Delaying the all-clear to view the patrol film, connections of the third-placed Major Grandeur lodged a protest feeling they were hampered in the run to the finish by Inciter.

Following the hearing, the stewards deemed the interference greater than the winning margin, amending the official results to Doolittle Dandy first, Major Grandeur second, and Inciter in third position.

Not the best day for Elkins, who had two runners in for the day; his other Tearaway Diamond also facing the ire of the stewards, banished to the trials for breaking in running.

 

THE WILDCARD

Some people enjoy a stiff drink as a pick-me-up, and for Gail Geeson Scotch En Ice would have been the ideal tonic, with the two-year-old claiming a maiden breaking victory last Tuesday.

With Geeson battling ill-health, Scotch En Ice was sent to Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen to prepare.

With Gail and husband Vic Frost cutting back on the workload, the COVID situation also became a factor with their stables based in Northern New South Wales at Sleepy Hollow.

Scotch En Ice - a gelded son of Hurrikane Kingcole - had shown a win was not far away, having placed in two of his previous three starts.

The victory last Tuesday came at his fifth career start, leading all the way in scoring a 10.8m victory in a slick 1.55.9 mile rate.

With a QBRED first win bonus for Scotch En Ice, he became the seventh winner from nine foals to race for his dam Frostiness.

In some bittersweet symmetry, it was also the first winner ranking Frost’s champion Westburn Grant as the sire or damsire since the dual Inter Dominion winner passed away back in late June.

Albion Park

BURWOOD STUD 2YO MAIDEN PACE 1660m

THE MILESTONE

The boutique stable of Stephen Cini ticked off a milestone at last Tuesday’s Albion Park meeting with the victory of Mymatepog.

Scoring victory in a new personal best over the mile of 1.53.9, the win saw Cini notch up a half-century of winners for the season.

Last reaching 50 winners in a term back in the 2009/10 Season with 71, the 2019/20 Season results have been returned at an impressive strike-rate.

Following the win on Tuesday, Cini’s figures were 50 wins and 75 placings from 335 starters, equating to a 14.9% win and 37% place strike-rate.

With only a small team, the Season has been highlighted by multiple wins from the stable including Garland Greene (seven wins), The Cruise Missile (six), The Doorman (five), The Money Ball (five), Quietly Spoken (five) and no doubt the source of tremendous frustration, Macey Jayde (four).

 

THIS WEEK

Following the two heats of the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduates, this Saturday night will see the $100,000 Group 1 Final take place.

The first five across the line from each heat have progressed to the Final, with heat one winner Jasper looking mighty impressive and every bit an Oaks filly for next season.

In the second heat, Chamonix made it a double for Dixon/GSM Racing trainer/owner combination and will be hoping to draw a good barrier for Saturday’s Final to challenge his stablemate.

Friday’s card at Albion Park will also see the inaugural running of the QBRED Trotting Finals; a $10,000 event for the two-year-olds and a $10,000 event for the three-year-olds will be held, confirming the commitment at growing the square gait population in Queensland following on from the Springboard Series.

Next Monday (August 17) will see a meeting conducted at Redcliffe, with nominations closing on Wednesday August 12.

Races are programmed at $3,499 with all races also carrying a QBRED cash bonus should the winner be an eligible QBRED horse.