Bon charges along in front to hang on in Shadow of post
Gwenda Johnstone could be forgiven for catching her breath when Bon Shadow hit the final straight at Donald on Sunday five lengths in front.
It was a sense of deja vu — because a month earlier the fiveyear-old gelding led in similar fashion at Echuca.
This was before his strides shortened and a late charge — from The Last Charge no less — had Bon Shadow beaten to the line.
It’s undoubtedly his normal racing pattern — roll to the front early, go for home at the 600m and hold off any final threats — but one that lifts the heart rate in anticipation of its outcome.
But after a freshen-up postEchuca, Bon Shadow f lipped the script at Donald, digging deep and holding off the challenge from the Steve Cunningham-trained Gojazz by a nose in the 0-58 Handicap over 1200 m.
“I was hoping he would hang on and he did,” Johnstone said.
“Jockey Jack (Hill), he rode him to a tee.”
Since June, Bon Shadow had little luck in his previous three runs, with two 11th finishes and a seventh to his name.
“There was a couple of wet tracks and the tracks have dried up a bit,” Johnstone said.
“We haven’t had a real good run with the tracks, he raced on a couple of really heavy ones and I think it just knocked him up a bit.
“They’ve dried up and he is back on track again.”
Bon Shadow’s triumph also brought about Johnstone’s first win of the 2021-22 season, with the trainer admitting with a laugh, “it was about time” following several placings.
“We also had a little filly (Very Shamus) who ran second the same day (at Donald),” Johnstone said. “She ran a good race too.” Was Written was Johnstone’s sole runner at Echuca on Monday, the five-year-old mare coming fifth from 11 in the BM58 Handicap over 1209 m.
Johnstone said the mare had gotten her head over the barrier when she and Hill jumped.
“We were down three lengths at the start, which sort of buggered her,” she said.
Bon Shadow’s latest win brings his record to three wins from 19 starts, though Johnstone said there was no clear race for him in the near future.
“We’ll just space his runs a little bit and find something somewhere,” she said.