MAYBE results don’t always paint the full picture.
And while there were five pretty impressive winners of the five Riverina heats of the Regional Championships, there was only one horse that everyone wanted to talk about – and marvel at his effort . . . Whereyabinboppin.
That’s not taking anything away from the other four heat winners, Western Sonador, Rocky Creed, We Salute You and Streamliner.
Yet Whereyabinboppin’s stunning 32-plus metres annihilation of his rivals had everyone wondering how the heck they were going to beat him when the $100,000 final rolls around in a little over a week.
And leading reinsman Jackson Painting found it difficult to disagree with them after the $1.05 favourite cruised home over Ideal Fantasy and Saucy Dreams in a stunning 1:53.5 mile rate.
“That’s about as good as any horse can go,” said Painting as he savoured the big win.
“We actually had a bit up our sleeve; I didn’t pull the plugs and I expect he’ll be cherry ripe for the final in a couple of weeks’ time.
“Dave (trainer David Kennedy) said make sure to give him a good hit-out to make him nice and hard fit for the final.
“He blew up a bit over the back so it will be scary what he could go in the final.
“He just covers the ground so well, you don’t feel like you are covering the ground that quickly.
“He still loses a bit of concentration and he wanted to hang a bit on the corners.
“If he had something to race against, I think he’d steer a lot better.
“I didn’t want to rush him out of the gate as I felt if it was necessary, I could sit outside them and still do the job, if I had to.”
While Painting often rates former classy pacer Deadsetlucky, a Group 1 winner as one of the best horses he had driven in his time, Whereyabinboppin may be closing fast.
“This bloke is on right track to be just as good as Deadsetlucky, if not better,” he said.
Painting was full of praise for officials who had been able to keep harness racing going while most other sports had been put on ‘hold’.
“Even people not in the game are talking about it, especially around the Riverina,” he said.
“It’s on the news and in the local papers and everywhere and as long as people are talking about it is good,” he said.
“Now the only spot we really don’t want to draw in the final is the inside of the second row.
“But what will be, will be – we’ll just have to see what happens.”
The other super-impressive winner of the Riverina’s regional heats was Western Sonador for the area’s ‘other’ top combination trainer Ellen Bartley and reinsman Blake Jones.
“We had to drive him a big different and put him into the race a bit earlier,” explained Jones after the race.
“But once he got there, he was right.
“I always thought he could do a bit of work.
“Today we wanted to make sure we qualified for the final, so we had to drive him and get into the race nice and early.”
Jones was also impressed with Whereyabinboppin: “He went a 46.2s lead time and he just looked to be jogging,” said Jones.
“If he draws to lead in the final, we might not be able to catch him.
“He’s a fast animal.
“Maybe if we draw a bit better, we might be able to catch him.
“A lot will come down to the draws.”
Bartley also felt the win was rather special after one of Western Sonador’s part-owners had passed away earlier in the week.
“That made this win that little bit more special,” she said.
“He’ll go straight into the final now and we’ll freshen him up a little bit.
“We know how good the opposition is and there were a few tough runs here today.
“It will be interesting to see who makes it through.”