17 February 2018

Country Warrior opens account in new colours

In-form trainer Shane Baertschiger continued his current solid run with a race-to-race double as well as a quinella on Fortune Bowl day on Saturday.

The prolific haul came from two favourites, Land Below D Wind ($17) and Country Warrior ($12) in their respective races, the $20,000 Wealth & Treasures Stakes, a Class 5 race over 1400m, and the $60,000 Abundance Stakes, a Class 4 Premier race over 1200m.

Land Below D Wind stormed home from a rearward spot to clinch the prize in the closing stages for apprentice jockey Krisna Thangamani (who was at his second win for Baertschiger after a top-notch ride on Solaris Spectrum three weeks earlier) while Country Warrior finally opened his account under Baertschiger’s No 1 jockey John Powell, heading a 1-2 for his stable which had Ladrone (Matthew Kellady) holding on for second place another one and three-quarter lengths away after showing the way.With that training double, Baertschiger now sits only two winners behind Steven Burridge (11 versus nine).

Happy with the auspicious haul on the second day of the Lunar New Year, Baertschiger was also rapt one of the connections were rewarded with their recent decision to bail him out with a takeover.

“Country Warrior has had a change of ownership in only the last four days,” he said excitedly.

“Wade Burridge and his partners from Premier Racing did not hesitate to buy this horse after I had some problems getting his training bills paid. They already owned New Sensation and Marine Treasure before, and they have also bought Dinghu Mountain over.

“Country Warrior has always been a good horse, and with the blinkers on today, he was a lot better. JP rode him a treat, too.”

Powell, who boasted two seconds from three starts with the Markane six-year-old, could not have hoped for a better result for the new connections. Country Warrior clocked 1min 10.12secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.

“He should have won at his last start, he got held up but everything worked out good today. I posted him in a good spot on the rails and just rode him for luck,” said the Australian jockey.

“When I gave him a squeeze in the straight, he came out through a gap and won a nice race.

“He’s been knocking on the door, he had all the favours today and it’s great he’s finally won a race, and it’s great it came for new owners, too.”

With that first success, Country Warrior has taken his total stakes earnings close to the $90,000 mark.

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