BURKE HOPES TO REPEAT HISTORY-MAKING DOUBLE

29
Jul

Natalie Burke hopes the racing ‘gods’ are just as kind to her at Port Hedland as they were at Roebourne last week.

In the sweetest of days for Burke she celebrated her best day in racing with a memorable history-making double.

Kick-starting Burke’s treasured milestone was Bernardini five-year-old Counter Drive in the $30,000 Karratha Sprint (1200m).

Counter Drive turned for home in front and held on to defeat Shackleton by a head in a thrilling conclusion to the race.

But it got even better 30 minutes later when $26 outsider Scenic Lord won the $50,000 Tabtouch Roebourne Cup (2200m) by a length.

It was the rising 11-year-old’s fourth start back this campaign after nearly two years out following a second tendon injury.

“It was special,” Burke told The Races WA.

“It was an amazing day.

“I had a lot of support around me with a lot of friends.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for the track and the racecourse and the people out there.

“It’s one of my favourite courses in WA.

“The organisers told me no one had done the double before, so I was pretty stoked with that.”

There is no doubt where Scenic Lord sits in Burke’s stable pecking order.

She’s not shy in expressing her affection for the son of Blackfriars.

She took on the gelding three years ago, but their association has been long-standing.

“Scenic Lord’s nickname is ‘boyfriend’, so he is definitely my favourite,” Burke said.

“I’ve been riding him since he was a four-year-old, so I’ve known him for six years, but had him under my care for the last three.

“I convinced Peter Moses to lease him to me.

“I just liked the feel of him and the way he stayed.

“He’s an absolute professional.

“It’s been a long journey and getting back from his latest set back was a big effort.”

Still revelling in the afterglow of the Roebourne Cup, Burke will look to extend her good fortune when Scenic Lord contests Sunday’s The Tams Port Hedland Cup (2200m).

She’s trusting Scenic Lord can revive fond memories after he won the 2019 edition of the Port Hedland Cup when trained by Krista Pike.

“He’s pulled up really well and hasn’t missed a beat,” Burke said.

“But this is going to be a lot tougher than last week.

“We are up against different horses on a different track and he has to face the bigger boys.

“But I think he’s tough and wants to do it.”

Counter Drive goes into The Richardson Family Sprint (1200m) in peak form.

Since trailing the field at Pinjarra in April, he has earned a cheque at every start with three wins, including the last two and four placings from seven outings.

“Being a Bernadini he loves the dirt,” Burke said.

“My old war horse Bernadini Genie won 15 on the dirt.

“This horse reminds me of him and the harder the ground the faster he gets.”

Kate Southam retains the rides on Scenic Lord and Counter Drive.

Her pilot on Scenic Lord in the Roebourne Cup was her best win to date.

Burke said she was thrilled to share the spoils of last week’s success with the hard-working apprentice.

“That was also her best day,” Burke said.

“She knows the horses and rings up other jockeys who have ridden them previously to find the best way to ride them and find their quirks.

“I really appreciate her efforts.”

Julio Santarelli