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  • Provincial Racing NSW


HIS horse has been through the pain barrier and Edward O’Rourke admitted to being in some himself before his luck finally turned at Canterbury today.

O’Rourke’s lightly-raced and talented four-year-old Iron Man ($3.60 favorite), resuming after an operation to rectify a wind problem, gave him his first success of the season in taking the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1250m).

Iron Man overcame a “sticky situation” when bailed away on the inside on the home turn prior to the gelding’s rider Tyler Schiller finding space near the inside after straightening – and the Exosphere gelding did the rest.

He defeated a luckless Newcastle mare Diamond Model ($5.50), who raced wide throughout (and also carried 0.5kg over her allotted weight), and Molly Nails ($5).

“I was in a bit of a sweat on the turn, but it all worked out well,” O’Rourke said en route home.

“It was such a relief to see this horse return and show the ability we always knew he had.

“Tyler had ridden Iron Man in his recent trial wins at Hawkesbury and Rosehill, and was very confident beforehand about winning today’s race.

“He actually got to the front a bit too soon, but his turn of foot was impressive and no doubt the win will give him plenty of confidence.”

“He just wasn’t mature enough at the time, and went for a break after two more runs at the Kensington track (third) and back at Kembla Grange (fourth) when he stepped up to 1600m for the first time and carried 60kg,” he said.

“Iron Man resumed and ran second in a 1200m Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap at Rosehill in September, and three weeks later finished sixth in a 1400m Benchmark 72 at Rosehill.”

O’Rourke explained that Iron Man subsequently underwent an operation as it was discovered his vocal chords were collapsing.

“He had been making a noise, but to the eye it didn’t appear to be affecting him,” he said.

“I suspect he had had the problem for a while.

“When you consider Iron Man’s breathing capacity was only 30 per cent, he was doing a terrific job to race as well as he did in the circumstances.

“He had certainly been through the pain barrier and, whilst it wasn’t a big operation, we gave him a really good spell.”

Provided Iron Man comes through the race well, O’Rourke likely will chase a Saturday victory with him at Royal Randwick in a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m) on July 6.

O’Rourke has 25 horses in work at Hawkesbury, and they are predominantly young horses.

“If they live up to the promise they are showing, I feel we will have a nice winter and then a nice spring,” he said.


Wyong trainer Damien Lane provided his star apprentice Anna Roper with an instant return winner at Dubbo today.

Sidelined since suffering a knee injury in an incident at the Newcastle trials on April 12, Roper got $1.70 favorite Singing Star home in the 2YO Handicap (1200m).

A $7000 yearling buy last year, Singing Star has now won two of her three country starts and returned $47,250 (including BOBS bonuses).

Roper clinched her 70th winner of the season, but unfortunately later in the meeting couldn’t quite give her boss another victory to post his 300th career success.

The pair combined with $4.20 favorite Really Motivated, who hit the front in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1600m) before being caught in the closing stages by $10 chance Shamister at the Showcase meeting, postponed from last Sunday.

Story John Curtis, June 19, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos


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