Skip Court books Hong Kong ticket

PROMISING Newcastle galloper Skip Court left it to the last possible minute, but he is off to Hong Kong following a win on Boxing Day.

Skip Court powered home to win the race five maiden plate over 1400 metres at the traditional Boxing Day meeting at Broadmeadow.

As soon as the three-year-old’s number was semaphored as the winner, a half-head clear of Lord Duveen, plans were underway for his switch to the ultra-rich  Hong Kong racing scene.

An ordinary meeting at Sha Tin is said to be akin to a Derby Day meeting in Melbourne.

That is because of the interest in every race and the amount of money  invested in all forms of betting.

‘‘Skip Court’s owner Tony Cheung has a permit for him to race in Hong Kong but it finishes today,’’ trainer Darren Smith said yesterday.

‘‘To qualify he had to have a win and today was his third try and finally he has won and he is now on his way.

‘‘He is being vetted as we speak and as soon as he gets a clearance there I will make plans for him to fly to Hong Kong.

‘‘Tony bred this one and a galloper he had over there finished recently and he is allowed a replacement.

‘‘He asked me if Skip Court could make it and I said he has the ability but has had no luck in his races.

‘‘He rang me this morning and said this was it – it was D Day for Skip Court.

‘‘I do not know if the horse could sense how important it was for him to do his best but thankfully he did.

‘‘Tony is stoked, he rang screaming ‘how good is that’ and all I could do is agree.

‘‘You don’t get fairytale endings like this too often in racing.’’

Meanwhile former Victorian apprentice Tash Burleigh had her biggest moment in racing when she took out the $22,000 Boxing Day Cup (1850m) at Broadmeadow yesterday.

Burleigh scored on outsider Minh Khai ($21) by producing a great ride for a four-length win.

She stalked the lead throughout and made sure her mare could pounce on the leaders.

Trained by John Steinmetz the four-year-old had won just one of her 14 previous starts.

Burleigh came to Warwick Farm  earlier this year and the 27-year-old is finding  Newcastle a lucky place.

‘‘When I came to Sydney from the Mornington peninsula  the first winner I had was What A Treat here at Broadmeadow,’’ she said yesterday.

‘‘Now I have won a cup race and it is my biggest ever win.

‘‘It is a real thrill.

‘‘I still claim three kilos and I have only been riding for just over a year.

‘‘This is my 25th winner and I was confident that the mare was travelling well.

‘‘But it was still very exciting when we won.

‘‘I am now sharing a place with top jockey Kath O’Hara and she has been a great help.

‘‘She is always watching the replays of my races and helping me learn.

‘‘I haven’t had a city ride yet  but hopefully that will come as will more wins here.’’

Apprentice Rachael Murray was another to shine, starting the program with two wins and two seconds.

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