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Kennewells power through

Monday, 22nd March, 2010

* David Tootell atop Clubs NSW and Keno Outback Cup winner Amyjaye Power. * David Tootell atop Clubs NSW and Keno Outback Cup winner Amyjaye Power.

By Darrin Manuel The father-son team of Gary and Lloyd Kennewell have swept the major events at the 45th St Pat's Races. The Morphettville-based duo opened their account in the XXXX Gold Sprint when favourite Framboise held off the fast-finishing Norm's Boy to claim $13,000 in prize money. Although his son trains the seven year-old mare, Gary was elated to see Framboise hold on to clinch the win.

"We're more than happy to get the money with that one," he said. "We thought she'd win, but to be honest (jockey) David Tootel said she was absolutely gone on the corner, but she just kept gutting it out. It's a great gutsy win."

The family's good fortune continued in the day's main race as Amyjaye Power roared past the highly fancied Spirited Halo to claim a fourth Outback Cup for trainer Gary Kennewell. The seven year-old gelding had won just four races from 49 starts leading into the race, and looked doomed to miss out on the placings again after a very slow start.

The horse jumped from barrier one and had to contend with the soft sand along the rail, and was soon trailing the field by a significant margin. Meanwhile Spirited Halo looked to be justifying his status as favourite after taking an early lead and maintaining it well into the race. Amyjaye Power began reeling the pack in during the second half of the race however, and eventually surged past Spirited Halo on the home straight to claim the race.

Although the horse's slow start may have had some punters concerned early on, Mr Kennewell said it was all part of the plan. "He got back a bit, but that's his pattern and he's better when he's ridden back like that," he said. "Last start we tried something different because he hadn't been putting in, so we tried to ride him forward a bit. But we had to hunt him to be there and he just doesn't like it.

"So today we said to Tootel to let him go and start back near the rear and get him out wide as soon as he could."He got his head out of the shit and was five deep and had no horse in front of him throwing any dirt at him and he just kept rounding them up like a good horse does. "He just showed he's a gutsy old horse."

Mr Kennewell was equally pleased with the efforts of jockey David Tootel, who delivered the stable their second win in as many races. "He was absolutely fantastic, he's a genius the bloke. He used to ride a lot for me and he's ridden a lot of winners for us," said Mr Kennewell. "When you get an old head on those shoulders it counts a lot in these sorts of races. He knows the track, he knows the horse, and he just did everything right.

Mr Tootel admitted he was expecting a tough task heading into the race, especially given Amyjaye Power's inexperience at leading races. "The horse performed better than expected, I thought he was a chance but...sometimes you do have to be realistic," he said. "We drew barrier one which was the wrong place to be, you want to be in the middle or wider, and we sort of snagged at the start, got to the outside of the field, then played it by ear.

"The first bit looked ugly because you're jumping on a bend and it can make the horses look further back than they are, but we probably did drop a good 12 lengths behind. "But from about the 1000 (metre mark) onwards I was quite confident and... because he won he achieved the ultimate."

The comeback win was typical of the day's racing, which saw a number of horses sprint from the rear of the field to claim victory. The climactic finishes thrilled the 8000-strong crowd, and made for a thoroughly enjoyable day of racing.

Another highlight for the day was the appearance of Mount Compass trainer Trevor Day, who attended the races despite being involved in a motor accident on Friday afternoon that claimed four of his horses and left another four injured.

Although he was unable to register a win with his two remaining charges, Mr Day's effort to make the races was extremely well received by race officials and patrons. "We're fine, and the four horses will all recover in time," said a bandaged and bruised Mr Day. "There's no internal injuries, but they're very stiff and sore.

"They're and eating and drinking and my wife is looking after them, and I'll be back there tonight." Fellow South Australian Ron Campbell fared a little better trackside, and was rewarded with the leading trainer award after strong showings from Frankie Sea and Pelekunu Valley.

Meanwhile Amy Herrman was a standout in the saddle, and earned the title of leading jockey for the meeting.

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