Captain’s courage under fire
Courageous 10-year-old Captain Proud upstaged Henwood Bay in last Friday night’s thrilling $15,000 BFS Busselton Cup 3YO+SS Pace (2680m) at Churchill Park.
All the talk before the race might have swirled around whether Shannon Suvaljko would be able to pilot Perlee Gates to his fourth win since December 21 but Corey Petersen ensured spectators were left in awe as Kym Neal’s “old boy” showed everyone why his longevity would never be questioned.
“It’s good to get the win for Kym and the family; they’re really good people who have believed in me,” Petersen said.
“His last couple runs weren’t the best but I was confident in Kym and how she would get the horse up for the race.”
Henwood Bay and Hoiho had forgettable starts to the feature, with both galloping upon release of the tape.
With the pace genuine early, red-hot favourite Perlee Gates dictated proceedings at the head of the field while it was completely different for Petersen and Hayden Hancock (Henwood Bay) at the rear.
Punters backing Hancock to claim cup glory could have been forgiven for tearing up their tote tickets midway during the journey, with the Collie-based stayer 60m off the lead.
But both Captain Proud and Henwood Bay refused to give in, despite each runner spending time at the tail of the field during the back end of the race.
Halfway along the narrow back straight, with congestion clogging the centre of the track, Peterson boldly sent the 10-year-old five-wide and his famous stride clicked seamlessly into gear with 600m to go.
It was a tempo the field was unable to tame, with Petersen bringing the stalwart home by 12.5m.
Hancock’s journey with the Collie-based Henwood Bay was equally impressive considering the ground he made up under heavy traffic, while Bunbury trainer-reinsman Kayden Hayter showed plenty of grit in the spider behind Hoiho.
Neal was rapt with how Petersen executed under pressure.
“What a great horse and I love him to bits,” Neale said.
“I’ve had him for a little while and what a super pony — he always gives his best.
“I changed his (Captain Proud’s) workload compared to last year.
“He was cherry ripe and we went one better.
“Corey was fabulous; he’s been driving him a lot and got the most from him.”
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