Local co-trainers Simone and Andrew Walker look to have an exciting prospect on their hands in the form of the lightly-raced three-year-old pacer Dennis William. Having just his fifth career start, the son of Art Major registered his third win when leading all of the way in the Woodlands Stud Pace at Cranbourne on Sunday.
Driven forward by Andrew Walker at the start, Dennis William assumed the front comfortably and then set a solid tempo for his rivals to follow throughout. Shaken up on straightening, the youngster coasted to the line a 15-metre winner over Rocks Roy and Double O Heaven in a slick 1:56:4 mile rate for the sprint trip.
It is understood that the stable favours giving the horse a few more runs in open age races before targeting a number of the juvenile feature races such as the Breeders Crown and Vicbred Super Series which have been deferred until later in the year.
“He’s a nice horse but he is still learning what it’s all about,” Simone said after the race. “Even today Andrew said he wanted to knock off a bit when he got clear of the other horses turning for home.”
Earlier in the day, the Walker Racing Team’s problem child Fend Off produced an improved effort to run second in the Blue Hills Rise Trot.
Raced by the Cranbourne Club 21 syndicate of owners, Fend Off was a winner first up at Melton in March but has been unplaced at his three most recent starts after making one or more mistakes in running. On Sunday the five-year-old gelding produced a fool-proof display and finished strongly to beat home all but Whizz Bang Dan after beginning safely but slowly and settling towards the end of the field.
Simone, who took the reins on Fend Off, was clearly relieved after the race.
“Honestly I was just happy that he got around trotting today and hopefully that’s a step forward.”
When asked about immediate plans for Fend Off, Walker was in two minds as to where to head next.
“There is possibly a suitable race at Kilmore on Wednesday week (27 May) but I might wait a few days and think about running at Cranbourne again in a fortnight (31 May),” Walker said after the race. “He generally loses a fair bit of weight after a really solid run and I’ll just have to see how he pulls up over the next few days.”
The stable rounded off a satisfying day when consistent pacer Reclusive ran another creditable placing in the last race on the card. The Rocknroll Heaven gelding has now won in excess of $50,000 in stakes in a career that has been curtailed to some extent by a series of soundness issues.
By David Scott
Photo: Claire Weston Photography.