Stratford reigns supreme
Track specialist Stratford bounced to his winning best in a big way with an emphatic display by taking out the WESEAL Townsville Cup Consolation giving trainer Rhonda Essery a real confidence boost.
In racking up his 27th win on the showgrounds track, the brindle son of Fernando Bale and Jingjing pulled out all stops to assert his control by sweeping to the lead coming off the back.
Holding Miss Verity at bay, Stratford scored by two lengths with Sleek Rumble running into third spot.
Essery explains she was concerned if her star performer had yet to overcome a minor virus following a recent campaign in Brisbane.
“There was no feature races on prior to the cup so Steve (Essery) and I decided to send Stratford south to race and he was left on the tarmac for too long and he didn’t seem himself,” Rhonda said.
“Sharon (Burnett) the dog’s regular catcher was emotional and so was I just to see him winning.”
Rhonda says the Townsville Derby and North Queensland Cup is next on the agenda for Stratford.
Essery claimed the major sprint - worth $10,000 to-the-winner - as Miss Priddle produced a stellar career performance leading from the off set to claim the TGOBTA North Queensland Sprint Final.
Miss Priddle, the daughter of Barcia Bale and Mitchie Madam, notched up her fourth victory over the 380-metre trip, producing a kennel quinella with Samshu finishing second and John Strachin third.
The ex-Northern Rivers galloper was offered to Rhonda at suitable price and has now shown to be a great commodity for the Burdell-based kennel having risen through the grades to achieve potential.
“I thought the box draw was a slight concern having Samshu drawn the inside (box seven) but Miss Priddle did everything right from the start and using the wide draw gave her every chance,” she said.