IT WAS a very satisfied Steve Turnbull who left Parkes Paceway on Sunday afternoon following one of his most successful days at the track for some time.
The champion horseman has won more Parkes premierships than most and in late 2014 trained a career-best seven winners on the one program at the central west track.
Turnbull himself will admit that, more recently, he has endured one of the leanest trots of his illustrious career and cannot pinpoint the reason why.
“I don’t know what was going wrong, something just wasn’t right . . . but hopefully we are back on track now,” said Turnbull after he had just taken out a Breeders Challenge heat at Parkes with Smooth Baht, which rated 1.56.5 and smashed the class record.
The well-bred three-year-old chased a breakneck speed and flooded home to win running away from the Bernie Hewitt-trained pair of Dukkah and Rock Fisherman, who were brave in defeat.
“I am hoping that ‘Baht’ can take the next step up as we head towards the finals,” said Turnbull.
“He has mixed it with the good ones ever since he began racing as a two year old.
“If he can snare some good barrier draws from here on in, I think he can be very competitive in the series.
“I have to say I am absolutely rapt with the way the team went on Sunday; we netted three winners, two seconds and a third for the day.
“Saint Emilion was a super tough win after he raced wide over the longer trip and Firestorm Red impressed me with a 1.57.1 mile rate.
“He has won twice at both Parkes and Dubbo over the past few months, he just loves the 800-metre tracks.”
Turnbull heads to the Gold Crown Paceway this evening with 10 runners but believes it will be a tough night to get winners.
“It looks to be a hard night on paper, but I do expect our two-year-olds to go well, despite having to race older horses,” he said.
“Warrawee Drinking went unbelievably well at Dubbo last start after he raced three wide and finished second to He Aint Fakin.
“He should be hard to beat tonight.
“We have three in the fast-class race but will battle to beat Make Mine Heaven.
“Maximus Red was unlucky at Parkes and could go well at odds.”
– MICHAEL DUMESNY