Saturday was anything but a regulation metro-class meeting at Gawler.
Crowds were welcomed back to the Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club track for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were enforced, while the nine races threw up a handful of interesting and/or quirky moments.
The Phillip Stokes-trained Octane was the star thoroughbred performer, powering to victory in an 1100m restricted event and potentially setting up a crack at the Melbourne spring carnival. It was the talented four-year-old gelding’s fourth win in five starts for the Stokes stable.
Octane was the final leg of a treble for Kayla Crowther and her 98th winner for the season. Showing that graduating to senior ranks will be no barrier to riding winners, Crowther won the opening race on two-year-old Allez Sur Le Gris, then lifted Bertwhistle over the line in the staying event, edging out Manzala in a tough battle up the straight.
However, ride-of-the-day honours went to Sairyn Fawke on Call Me Dexter in the final race.
Call Me Dexter almost fell nearing the home turn and Fawke showed great athleticism to stay in the saddle. He instantly put the scare behind him to pilot Call Me Dexter to a narrow win over the fast-finishing I’m A Legend – and his post-race interview with Racing.com’s Terry McAuliffe was a cracker.
In a day of variety, winning trainers at Saturday’s meeting include Peter Hardacre (Our Boy Bailey), Daryl Reynolds (Galcrum) and Graham Fryer (Call Me Dexter). Galcrum is Gawler-based Reynolds’ sole horse.
Saturday’s meeting also saw a double to jockey Jeff Maund (Galcrum and Classy Joe) and another winner to Victorian apprentice Jessica Eaton (Our Boy Bailey).