14 November 2017 | Graham Fischer
Popular Gawler owner Alan McDonald had successful Saturday, capped by The Nature Boy winning the UBET Spring Challenge Final (1800m) at Globe Derby Park.
“Everyone got money,” McDonald said.
“I had to go to the Kapunda Rodeo because I had seven of my kids competing,” McDonald said.
“They all came away with money and The Nature Boy’s win was the icing on the cake.
“I ducked down the pub to watch the race on Sky.”
The Nature Boy ($5.80), trained and driven by David Smith, scored a two-metre win from the fast-finishing Goodsie ($42) with Doubledipofheaven ($3.90), a similar margin away third.
Smith admitted he was pleasantly surprised by the win.
“He is just such a good horse,” Smith said.
“I got caught wide early and covered ground for longer than I would have liked. That was the first time I thought he couldn’t win.”
Eventually, as expected, Smith was able to work The Nature Boy around to sit parked outside the leader Royal Safari ($2.60 fav). But the favourite had had its own issues and had to work itself early to find the lead.
As he does, Smith kept The Nature Boy running along and the gelding eventually worked to the lead coming off the back.
“Hitting the front on the home turn, I again thought I would be a sitting shot, with one of the others sprinting home too strongly.”
Doubledipofheaven, a five-year-old with a quick sprint, did in fact loom up on straightening but came to the end of his run and The Nature Boy kept giving.
On the line, the Smith-driven pacer had outstayed his rivals to take out the Spring Challenge with Goodsie finishing fast to snatch second but never look a winning chance.
McDonald said he had thought of talking with Smith about giving the winner a break but asked why he would when the gelding was racing so well.
“David has him fitter than he has ever been, and he is going fantastic.”
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