Stunning Distance Performance From Good Juan

By Jeff Collerson
Good Juan, who staged 2020's most spectacular Wentworth Park 520m win on June 27, can boast this year's most impressive 720m performance with another last-to-first effort on Saturday night.

Despite leaving the starting boxes a distinct last, Good Juan railed up to be fifth with a lap to go and after being fourth on the back straight, surged to the lead at the top of the straight.

Such was Good Juan's power over the final stages he careered away to win by seven lengths in a sensational 41.96, one of the fastest 720m times ever posted at Wentworth Park and just .58s outside Tornado Tears' track record set in April 2019.

"His immediate goal is the 720m NSW Distance Championship at Wentworth Park on Thursday, August 13,'' trainer Harry Sarkis said on Saturday.

"I've given up trying to get Good Juan to jump better but actually missing the kick the way he does could be a blessing in disguise in long distance races.

"If he began on terms with his rivals there would always be a chance he could get knocked down early, but when he is a clear last and they start to string out, Good Juan can thread his way through the field.''

Good Odds Harada, the 2019 TAB Million Dollar Chase winner, was expected to provide the 520m highlight of Saturday's card but that honour went to Zipping Zeek, who led throughout in a near record 29.35.

Usually a slow beginner, Zipping Zeek began brilliantly from box eight and won comfortably from Furious Not Fast, recording brilliant splits of 5.41, 13.76 and 17.80 and running home in a strong 11.55.

"When I trial him at Wentworth Park Zipping Zeek usually clocks 5.60 for the first section, so don't ask me how he came out fast like that and ran 5.41,'' a surprised but happy trainer Jason Magri said.

"Tonight he must have lunged forward just as the lids lifted because I have never seen him come out like that.''

Good Odds Harada could manage only fourth as a heavily backed odds-on favourite in Saturday's 520m Free-For-All, with the JODIE Lord-trained Ritza Donald leading all the way.

Good Odds Harada began reasonably well from box five but when Ritza Donald (box two) and Sunburnt Highway (box one) drove up inside him at the first turn, he was always going to have his work cut out.

Ritza Donald is owned by Frank Gatt, who also races that dog's litter sister Ritza Gloria, who rattled home to finish second.

Ritza Gloria, a daughter of Ritza Lenny, is trained by Frank Gatt's son Mark, who explained: "When this litter was ready to race I kept Ritza Gloria but farmed some of the others out to different trainers and JODIE Lord finished up with Ritza Donald.''

Ritza Donald's win, his sixth in nine Wentworth Park appearances, gave Lord a winning double, as she won a 720m fifth grade with El Rapido.

El Rapido came from third on the back straight to win by a head from pacemaker Highly Effective, covering the trip in a tidy 42.42.

"Wentworth Park is El Rapido's least favourite track, she actually goes better everywhere else except Wenty,'' Lord said later.

"Just the same, I think she will be improved by tonight's run.''

Trainer George Borg's Romantic Storm ran down Defining Moment, trained by his close friend Kerry Drynan, to take out Saturday's $5000 to the winner GBOTA Welcome Maiden Final.

Romantic Storm had been runner-up to Defining Moment's kennelmate Saucy Smile in his Welcome Maiden heat on July 22, before finishing second behind You Know Who in a similar race last Wednesday at Wentworth Park.

"When he finished second in Saucy Smile's heat, Romantic Storm was having his first ever test over 520m, so he was expected to improve,'' Borg said

"I had not planned to nominate him for last Wednesday, intending instead to trial him at Wenty on Tuesday, but because I was worried rain might wash the trials out, I entered him for the midweek meeting.

"I was worried his second placing on Wednesday might have taken the edge off him for tonight's race but it didn't worry him and once he found the fence at the first turn I knew he would be hard to beat.

"Romantic Storm is very strong but is mad to get to the rails so it suited him when he was second around the first turn.''