Favourites upset as veteran keeps blazing

It was a tough day for punters with the two hot favourites beaten in the two feature races of the day in Hobart on Sunday.

In Brief

  • Odds on favourites upset in both Autumn Classics.
  • Blaze Forth knocks over the hot pot.... Again.
  • Four winners extend Brunton's premiership lead.


Geegee Jet By failed to run a place in the Ladbroke It! Tasmanian Sires Produce while Turk Warrior is struggling to dominate as he did in his 2YO season, finishing second in the Kevin Sharkie 3YO Autumn Classic.

Turk Warrior started the red hot $1.35 favourite but after hitting the front heading for home, he was unable to match the finishing burst from Popeye The Sailor ($16 into $11) who dashed past to win by 2.5 lengths.

Turk Warrior has now been a beaten odds on favourite at his past three runs. His overall record is still top notch with nine wins and almost $500,000 in the bank but he doesn't seem to have the zest he showed last season.

In the Sires, Geegee Jet By ($1.70), never looked to be travelling and finished fifth in a field of seven more than six lengths from the winner,

Veteran Blaze Forth appreciated the sting out of the ground to chalk up his 16th career win, fighting back to beat the favourite Hela in the Tasmanian Wine Centre Open Handicap over 1400m.

Well ridden by promising apprentice Chelsea Baker, Blaze Forth raced on the speed and defied his years to win narrowly.

"He's a great old horse, just a length or so from being top class but I'd love to have a stable full of horses like him," trainer John Blacker said.

Hela was far from disgraced and will no doubt benefit from the run. She was having first run since finishing down the track at Caulfield in September last year.

"When we decided to and go to the 1400m instead of the 1200m first-up I knew it was a risk but I was happy to take that risk.

"It was her first run in 31 weeks, I thought she was home at the 200 but she just ran out of gas, but it was terrific to see her back at the racetrack," trainer Scott Brunton said.

While Brunton is tempted to run Hela interstate at her next outing he is more likely to keep her home with a long-term aim being the Cups. He says as a 'type' Hela reminds him of 2020 Hobart Cup winner Toorak Affair.

"I'm really keen to get her out to the cups distances, and whatever she did today she's going to improve on greatly, it will be interesting to see in the morning how's she's pulled up after the run," Brunton added.

Even though Hela missed out it was still a good day at the office for Brunton who saddled up four winners to back up his five winners in Hobart a fortnight ago, it was however his partner Tegan Keys who stole the show with Happy Clan taking out the Sires Produce.

"It's fantastic, I think Tegan has found herself a good one, it's extremely pleasing, I think she's going to have a great 3yo season with him," Brunton said.

Happy Clan met with plenty of support shortening from an opening quote of $26 into $12 and paying $9.30 on the local tote.

Despite 117 millimetres of rain falling throughout the week, the Hobart track played remarkably well, emphasised by a rail hugging ride by Erica Byrne Burke to land the last favourite of the day, Sharma Rama ($2.40).

In years gone by, after that amount of rain, the last race winner would have been coming down the outside rail, or moreover, we would have had a day off!


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