Is this a racing first in Australia?
Is this the first time an official father and daughter training partnership has won a premiership?
While that fact has still to be verified, there can be no doubt about the level of emotion when the Ipswich Trainers’ Premiership went right down to the wire at the Provincial track’s final meeting for the 2000/21 season … or right down to the last stride of the fifth race on the card to be more accurate.
Chris Munce and the training partnership of Tony and Maddy Sears went into the day locked together on nineteen winners apiece, but Munce held the inside line as, if neither stable could post anything further on the scoreboard, Munce would emerge as the Premiership winner on a countback as his stable had more second placed runners than the Sears team.
Both stables only had one runner on the day and Munce was first in action sending One More Pinot out to contest race three. A win for the Jet Spur gelding would have shut-out the Sears team and the Premiership would have been decided even before the Sears’ trained Red Wave had a chance to spring into action.
But One More Pinot could do no better than fill fifth place … thus leaving the Premiership door open to the Sears’ father and daughter training partnership, but anything short of victory by Red Wave would see the pendulum swing again with that honour going back to Munce.
If you thought the lead-up to the final act could not be more nail-biting, you would have had to catch your breath in final strides of the race itself.
Red Wave had to be chased by jockey Jimmy Orman early and then raced ungenerously on the rail for much of the sweep to the turn. For all that the lightly raced two-year-old still managed to straighten in a challenging position in fourth spot, slightly wide, some three lengths off the leader.
Now the chase was on in earnest and Orman firstly shifted Red Chase back in towards the rail where he quickly moved into third place. Still though, Baronial and Pretty Devine held a three length advantage at the head of affairs.
With Baronial shifted in and came together slightly with Pretty Devine halfway up the straight, both runners were compromised to some degree. Baronial kicked on well enough after that to still set a lively target, but now both Red Wave and Yes We’re Ready were taking aim and closing ground strongly.
That momentum carried Red Wave past the game Baronial with 50m left to run, but Red Wave was towing Yes We’re Ready along just a neck away to his outside. That already narrow margin diminished with each stride as the two runners stretched out to try and get to the line first and they went through the line almost as one in as rousing a finish as you could hope to see.
And when the number when up after the photo-finish had been viewed by the judges … the number five saddle cloth number … it meant that Red Wave had got the decision and the Premiership now belonged to Tony and Maddy Sears. In the end, while it hadn’t been mentioned before, even a dead-heat would have got them home.
The first Sears partnership Premiership had been achieved in their first full season since the father/daughter team joined forces … a very worthy feather in the stable’s cap … and, as mentioned, probably a piece of history.
All credit too to jockey Jimmy Orman on several fronts … for a great individual ride and for all of the hard work and superior level of consistent riding throughout the season which brought him two Provincial Premierships (Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast) and, very importantly, the distinction of winning the Queensland State Jockey Premiership.