KING CLAIMS CUP
Saturday, 18th March, 2017
By Tyler Hannigan
The Rocky Baker Memorial Pacing Cup will remain in Broken Hill after King Of Dreams, trained by local Matt Schembri and driven by Jacob Kerridge, took out the race in thrilling fashion.
The field was full of quality horses from both here and out of town and they put on quite a show for the big crowd in attendance.
Runners were tightly grouped for the majority of the race, drivers unwilling to give anything away which led to a thrilling finish down the home stretch as King Of Dreams held off its rivals to record a classic win.
Bettatobelucky made it an all Broken Hill quinella after a superb drive by Cassie Robinson who was pinned to the inside for most of its run. Lifeinheaven managed third while Emerging Art came in fourth.
Trainer Schembri said that the emotion he felt when King Of Dreams crossed the line is something he’ll never forget.
“I definitely wouldn’t take back that finish for anything,” Schembri said post race.
“I’d have that 100 times over again if I could.
“It was unbelievable. To us that’s like winning an Inter-dominion or country cup.
“We set the horse for this race, the biggest race in Broken Hill, and he delivered the goods.
“I got a bit excited and was yelling instructions to Jacob (Kerridge) from the fence and thankfully he listened,” Schembri added.
“10 out of 10, I could not fault the driving whatsoever.”
Being born and raised in Broken Hill made the win even sweeter said Schembri.
“It means a lot to keep it local,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to know Rocky (Baker) for a number of years when I started to get involved in harness racing.
“To win that race named after him is an absolute privilege and it’s definitely something ticked off the bucket list.”
Schembri owns King Of Dreams with partner Chloe while dad Nino is also heavily involved.
“Dad is always thereabouts,” Schembri said.
“He’s the first one to the stables every morning.
“I’ve had a lot of help from people, there’s a lot that goes into it but this makes it all worthwhile.”
The race prior to the Rocky Baker Memorial was rife with controversy and confusion as the siren failed to sound and runners finished a lap too soon.
Ruben Hall crossed the line first but the race was declared void due to the horses not going the correct distance.
The race was derailed from the start as Conrod Kenze lost its driver early in the first lap and was out of the race which may have contributed to the confusion.
In other results, the night’s opening race was won by Double Standards ahead of Bronze Destiny and Fineandsunny in a slight upset.
Race two saw a dominant win by Kylie Hughes aboard heavy favourite Camelot Speedster. After sitting one-out and one-back for most of the race, Camelot Speedster broke wide in the final lap and flew how to win by over eight metres to Reasonstoremember and Emiiromar.
Schembri had a night to remember as his horses King Of Dreams, Bronze Destiny and Emiiromar finished first, second and third respectively over the night.
Ronzel Jack was too good in race five, beating home Jerome Jetsetter and Atom Ranger who produced a good run.
The final race of Broken Hill’s season was won by Misperception driven by local Cassie Robinson ahead of Cheyenne Autumn and the ever consistent Lancelot Hall.
The end of season awards were also presented with Bettatobelucky and Don Pimm repeating last year’s performance in taking home the horse and trainer of the year respectively while Jacob Kerridge capped of his brilliant night with driver of the year.