Taking part in the second leg of the Marathon Series, Square Dancer came into this race off the back of a couple of respectable third place finishes. Retaining Richard Hamel, Dancer was sent off as the narrow favourite by the betting public and showed typical calmness in an uneventful paddocking and post-parade.
Breaking well, and with the anticipation of a lack of speed in the race the Club I stalwart was placed six lengths off the early pace, which was set by Payton’s Best and tracked by Mousey Mousey in second. As is often the case in these races, there was little significant change throughout the opening circuit, with all of the jockeys being mindful to leave their mount with enough gas in the tank at the end of the 11 furlong trip.
As the pack passed the finish line for the second time the room afforded to Payton’s Best had been reduced to a length, while Mousey Mousey slowly began dropping back, leaving Dancer in prime striking position.
Coming around the turn for home, the race sprung into life. Dancer breezed past a tiring Payton’s Best, with Sanawar and Cyclone Dan rallying to the outside. As the grueling stretch drive progressed, Cyclone Dan had the most left in his tank and began inching away at Dancer’s lead, however Dancer gamely stuck to his task and held off the challenger by a neck to secure the win.
Credit goes out to the Club I members who braved the poor weather to cheer on their hard-knocking champion and were treated to a trademark Hamel victory cheer as Dancer was welcomed back to the paddock.
With her maiden status laid to waste in her last outing, Warrior’s Promise looked to repeat the feat going long against a tough Allowance field of “never won three” fillies and geldings.
Teaming up with jockey, Alex Marti for the first time, our Club II filly looked in good order while paddocking, looking like a horse who knew the commanding fashion she had dispatched her last group of rivals with.
After coming out of the gate well, Warrior’s was sent toward the front of the pack, sitting off of the early pacesetter, Finally Gotcha. In a deviation from tactics earlier this year, this type of trip appeared to suit her well last time out at the sprint distance, so the repeat plan was no surprise for Club Members.
Heading into the clubhouse turn, Alex tried to save some ground and tuck her in behind the pacesetter along the rail, while El Noble moved alongside to inch into second place.
Whether it was the ground or the kickback that affected our filly, she didn’t appear to be travelling very well and as the pace quickened she quickly lost places, leaving Alex to swing her to the outside as the stretch commenced. Alex accepted that her chance of a placing were over and took care of her down the stretch.
After the elation of her win, it was not the follow up performance that Club II members would have been wishing for. Patti did report that our filly looked well after coming back to the barn, so this may be one that we need to forgot about as quickly as possible and give her another chance to prove that she can put her best foot forward against winners.