YEAR: 2012



It is just as well Tim Butt came away with the Hunter Cup, won by Choise Achiever, in Melbourne last Saturday night. His luck on this side of the Tasman has taken a hammering, winning and losing three races in as many weeks with erratic runners. First it was Cam Before The Storm relegated from first at Blenheim. A week later at Motukarara, Enough's Enuff lost a maiden, and then a master blow, winning the $200,000 PGG Wrightson Sales Series for 3-year-old fillies with Elusive Chick and losing it to a JCA decision and Dancing Diamonds at Addington.

Elusive Chick had been taken to the front by Colin DeFilippi with a lap to run, and put what appeared to be a winning break on the pack on turning in. Only Dancing Diamond emerged with the purpose of pegging her back. Between starting her chase and getting there, Elusive Chick had come off her line by three sulky widths, without causing any hindrance to the progress of Dancing Diamonds. But when Dancing Diamonds arrived at the wheel of Elusive Chick, further drift occurred. And while Blair Orange never stopped driving Dancing Diamonds out, it was noticable from three camera angles he was forced to jiggle the cart at least twice to avoid the possibility of hooking a wheel.

DeFilippi told the panel that at no stage did Orange appear to stop driving Dancing Diamonds and said the horse could have won had she been good enough. Orange based his appeal on the line DeFilippi ended from where Elusive Chick started, the issue he had with his sulky inside the last 100m, and the fact the margin was tight - half a head. In defending the drift out, DeFilippi said: "They're not motor cars."

The JCA made speedy work on the matter, resting their decision to relegate Elusive Chick on the requirement of a horse maintaining a straight line to the finish. It was a friendly fight, with the connections of the new winner saying they didn't like to win that way, and the Elusive Chick people gallant in defeat. Dancing Diamonds has not been quite herself since a hard run first-up, and Orange was anxious to give her cover. That's the trip he gave her.

The filly was bred by Phil Creighton and Stewart Gillan and they sold her as a yearling for $110,000. But there was a hiccup in the detail, putting trainer Mark Purdon in the position of going to Creighton later and asking him if he wanted to keep a half-share. The Bettor's Delight filly races for Creighton, his wife Margaret, and Braedon and Caroline Whitelock. Asabella, the dam of Dancing Diamonds, had a colt foal to Art Major this year and has been served by Bettor's Delight.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 9Feb2012

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