Story by Carl Di Iorio at Racing.com
Ballarat horseman Dan O’Sullivan trained and owned the winner of Tuesday’s opening jumps race at Warrnambool, the remarkably courageous So Belafonte.
Ridden by Tom Ryan, So Belafonte ($4.80) was having his fourth maiden hurdle start in the $31,500 George Taylor Memorial (3200m).
The six-year-old gelding by Medaglia d’Oro led the field alongside Arkamun ($5) by 15 lengths within the first 1000 metres of the race.
And when Arkamun surrendered his leading position with 800m remaining, a similar fate was expected for So Belafonte, particularly after rattling a hurdle down the back straight.
However, So Belafonte rallied tenaciously and fended off Hierarchal ($31) all the way down the straight to score by a short head. My King’s Counsel ($5.50) finished a further 10 lengths away in third.
Casa Larada ($3.50 favourite) was supported to win at his jumps debut for Amy McDonald but was slow to begin and raced wide throughout, finishing seventh in the nine-horse field.
“That was extremely tough, when he hit that one (hurdle) up the back (straight) I thought ‘Gee that’s got to be it’,” O’Sullivan said after winning his first jumps race since Beer Garden in a Benchmark 125 hurdle at Warrnambool in March 2015.