Race 6, the Novice over 1200m on the National Day race card was billed as nearly a match race between the lightly raced three year old’s Bluestone (the winner of his only start) and the Shane Baertschiger trained Hotshots Slam a debut winner and third in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horeshoe. Pre-race a huge betting battle was unfolding between the two, and with nearly $450,000 in the win pool alone, it was Bluestone who won this battle, starting the popular elect at $10.
Owners Dennis Cornwell and Tony Davies were quietly confident before the race and were joined track side by their wives Andrea and Trish. Tony’s son Kyle (who recently turned 18) was at his first race meeting in Singapore. Normally a figure of sartorial elegance, Mr Cornwell was seen to be pacing around the saddling enclosure, either a little flustered at Bluestone’s price or walking off a few nerves.
Alysha Collett, back in Singapore for the past two weeks after recuperating from a bad fall on October 14 last year, was entrusted with the ride. With an awkward barrier in 8 to contend with, as Bluestone’s main rival had drew well in 3, Collett would need to be at her best to notch up her comeback victory.
From barrier rise Collett had Bluestone out quickly but as expected Hotshots Slam (Matthew Kellady) from his good gate drove to the lead down the back straight opening up to a two length break at one stage. Collett however kept Bluestone handy to the leader, not letting him gain any convincing lead. As they neared the home turn, Bluestone was allowed to stride up to leader and looked to be traveling better.
Putting paid to Hotshots Slam quickly at the top of the straight, it was obvious the two horse war punters expected was not going to eventuate. When Collett asked Bluestone for his final effort he steadily forged to the front and under hands and heels riding he had a length to spare in the finish over Paris Time, but the exciting three year old did seem to have a bit left up his sleeve and it was a soft victory in the end.
Long time friends and clients of the stable, Dennis, Andrea, Tony, Trish and Kyle roared their son of Hallowed Crown home. Both Dennis and Tony have been great supporters of the stable having had shares in quite a few horses over the past few years with only moderate success. Mind you, both are seriously wealthy and always choose the cheapest syndication option amongst the stables yearling purchases, so it’s not all the stables fault. Further, Dennis could stop a Tsunami if he backed it hitting a coast somewhere.
In fact, Tony was rudely left out of a previous syndication formed by Cornwell. Whether this was an act of selfishness or an innocent oversight has yet to be determined. Tony however, has had the last laugh as now a part owner of the promising Bluestone. The horse he was not offered a share in, well it turned out to be, well……..slow and very disappointing. I’m sure the boys celebrated quite hard, and there is a rumour that Andrea hopped into the champagne at home and was cast on the couch by 10pm. But that rumour has neither been rejected or confirmed by Andrea herself.
Cliff in Melbourne on family business, watched the race and was delighted with the win but more so for Dennis, Tony and other part owner Richard Pegum. Richard previously raced the handy galloper Foxtrot Hotel trained by Cliff in Singapore.
Costing A$40,000 as a yearling at the 2018 Inglis Classic Sale, Bluestone has already won in excess of $80,000 in prize money for the Bluestone Stable headed by Dennis Cornwell. He looks to have a very bright future. Dennis is also great friends with Glenn Whittenbury who has the undefeated 3 year old Inferno (also 2wins from 2 starts), and there is sure to be some friendly banter between the two as Cliff charts both horses futures.