New season starts at Sale

Kevin Hogan

THE new racing season begin at Sale on Wednesday, with strong fields and feature races carrying $30,000 in prize money.

The track, rated a “soft five”, stood up well to the nine-event program.

Riding honours went to Ben Allen, who won the final two races of the day.

Race seven, the benchmark 70 handicap over 1739 metres, the first of the $30,000 events, was won by Zagaya, ridden by Damian Lane and trained at Mornington by Lyn Telson and Leonie Proctor.

The seven-year-old gelding was coming off unplaced runs at Moonee Valley and Sandown.

The second of the feature events, race eight, the fillies and mares benchmark 70 handicap, was won by Bettyrae Ruby, ridden by Allen and trained at Pakenham by Tim Hughes.

Before her second win, the five-year-old mare was coming off two second placings at Sale.

Mornington trainer John McArdle and jockey Noel Callow combined to win the first event, with Another Bit, who has been racing at Moonee Valley and Caulfield.

First starter Clarice Cliffs, trained at Cranbourne by Greg Eurell and ridden by Nikita Beriman, won the race two maiden plate.

Stryker Queen, trained by Matt Laurie at Mornington and ridden by Damien Thornton, won the race three maiden plate. The three-year-old filly was coming off place runs at Warrnambool and Echuca.

Resurge, trained by Tony McEvoy at Flemington and ridden by Luke Currie, scored an impressive win in the race four maiden plate.

Little Bita Spunk, trained by Matthew Brown at Cranbourne and ridden by Chelsea MacFarlane, won race five, the benchmark 64 handicap.

Outback Warrior, trained by Michael Moroney at Flemington and ridden by James Winks, won race six, the benchmark 64 handicap, in a photo finish from locally-owned Weekend Escape, ridden by Andrew Mallyon.

Ben Allen completed his winning double in the final race, the class one handicap, on Star Silk. The four-year-old gelding, trained at Mornington by Jason Warren, was coming off a last start fourth a Geelong.

The next meeting at Greenwattle Racecourse will be held on Thursday, August 16.

THE 2017-18 Sale trainers’ premiership was won by Mick Price, with 10 wins for the season.

Jamie Mott was the top jockey, with eight wins and nine second-placings. Mott narrowly claimed the title ahead of Jake Noonan, who had eight wins and three seconds.

The leading apprentice jockey was Michael Poy, with six wins.