01 December 2022 | HRNSW MEDIA | Article by MICHAEL DUMESNY
Spirit Of St Louis Photo by Stuart McCormick.
THE Belinda McCarthy trained Spirit Of St Louis flew the flag for New South Wales on night two of the Inter Dominion Pacing Championships at Shepparton on Tuesday evening.
Despite drawing wide in barrier six, ‘Louis’ was set alight by driver Jack Callaghan to cross those drawn inside him, a move that proved to be a winning one as Callaghan was able to control the race from the front, snaring a cheap 31 second quarter before fighting off a fast-finishing Beyond Delight in the run to the line to score by a neck.
The pair then had to endure an anxious wait after the driver of the second horse, Mark Pitt, fired in a protest, alleging interference in the run home.
After a long deliberation, stewards eventually dismissed the protest placing a warning on Callaghan for allowing Spirit Of St Louis to shift ground.
For Callaghan, the win was a real thrill, one that he rated as a highlight of his short career.
“It was an awesome feeling to get him home,” said the young former Hunter Valley reinsman.
“He has been a very special horse to me, and these big races are the ones you dream of driving in.”
Winning his heat on Tuesday almost assures Spirit Of St Louis a spot in the $500,000 final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday week.
It will be back to normal business for trainer Belinda McCarthy and Callaghan as they head to Penrith tonight to combine with two-year-old colt Mufasa Bart in a heat of the New South Wales Breeders Challenge regional series.
Mufasa Bart has drawn wide in gate six but with just a small field of seven runners, Callaghan is confident his pacer is a realistic winning chance over the 1720m journey.
“He has raced well this season against some of the best two-year-olds in the state,” said Callaghan.
“The draw is not ideal, but with just one horse drawn on the back line that should allow us to drop back into a trailing spot to balance up.
“Mick Danger has won his past two so, hopefully, from gate two he will set a fast pace to give my bloke the chance to run on at the finish.”
It is another strong program at Penrith tonight highlighted by three heats of the Breeders Challenge and the time-honoured Sinclair Ford Cup.
Whether it is racing – Standardbreds or Thoroughbreds – rehabilitation, agistment or breeding, Cobbitty Equine Farm’s location, facilities and operations ensure the horses welfare and development are paramount.