The South Australian premiership races are heating up.
With five winners in the past two Saturdays the Phillip Stokes stable has moved one win clear in the state title and just one win behind Michael Hickmott on the Adelaide Trainers’ Premiership.
Despite slowly “running out of ammo” according to Adelaide foreman Tommy Stokes, the stable’s impressive figures locally, where they are going at 21.1 per cent, are the second best strike rate in the country – of all trainers in the top 10 – behind Queensland horseman Tony Gollan.
In Adelaide, high-priced mare Fall On A Star added some value to her post-racing career when she made it successive wins by leading throughout, while Call Me Shamus handled his rise in distance impressively to win the staying event. The double followed on from three winners at Murray Bridge seven days earlier.
And it isn’t just the trainers’ side of things where it’s getting tight.
Todd Pannell has been steadily closing the gap on Jessica Eaton in the race for the riders’ titles.
He holds a dominant lead in the state title, while he sits just three wins behind Eaton in the city after the pair both landed a winner each on the weekend. On Saturday, Jacob Opperman and Kayla Crowther shared riding honours with a double.
It’s been contrasting second halves of the 2020-21 season for Eaton and Pannell.
Eaton started 2021 in blazing form with 26 winners in January and February, but has just 18 in the three months since. It was a slow start to the new year for Pannell, but his past three months have netted 28 winners.
And what about Jamie Kah.
South Australians have been lucky to witness her rise to stardom for years but her ride on Vega One in the Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm might just be her best.
With a wall of horses in front of her, Kah found a needle-eye opening to charge to victory and give her a sixth Group 1 win, taking her prizemoney earnings for the 2020-21 season to just shy of $15 million.
While Vega One and Kah were a brilliant watch, it was far from that for South Australian pair Savatoxl and Gytrash.
Savatoxl’s effort to be beaten 1.2 lengths was full of merit, however the run saw SA jockey Barend Vorster suspended for 10 days.
Meanwhile Gytrash was only beaten 2.85 lengths into 12th spot and will now go for a spell, before being set for a second tilt at The Everest.
Image: Fall On A Star winning at Morphettville on Saturday.