Speak No Evil comes out on top

Speak No Evil. Picture Stuart McCormick

Michael Howard

A terrific Amanda Turnbull drive and training performance enabled an outstanding mare, Speak No Evil, to claim the Benstud Queen Of The Pacific and the first Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown.

The Lauriston Bloodstock bred and owned five-year-old added tonight’s $100,000 Group 1 to last week’s Angelique Club Pace, winning successive legs of the Crown series to secure the $10,000 bonus.

“What a night, it’s been great,” Turnbull told Trots Vision. “Just so happy for the horse, she’s come along a long way in our stables.

“Lauriston have been good to us and they’ve given us a couple since I’ve been down here. They just dropped her off and she’s been there about six weeks, a bit longer, and every time you take her out she just gets happier.”

And owner-breeders Anne and Bill Anderson would have been rapt with their decision tonight after a flawless performance from both horse and driver.

From gate 11, Turnbull settled Speak No Evil five back in the running line and there she remained as first No Win No Feed and then Nostra Villa sat outside the leader Bettor Enforce.

Her reinsman Brian Gath kept the quarters ticking over at good time and that kept the challengers at bay, cranking it up with a 27.8-second third quarter that crippled the attempt of Havtime to make in-roads at the head of the three-wide line.

That provided an opportunity for Turnbull, who was at the tail of the field but instead attacked via the running line hopeful a window would open. When it did at the turn she advanced and Speak No Evil’s blistering sprint separated her from the field, claiming Bettor Enforce in the final strides to win by 1.4 metres.

“I thought I would have to do something like that,” Turnbull said. “I didn’t want to have to go too early at the bell, just because I thought they ran so quick down the back.

“It was probably a (more) slowly run race than I thought it would be, but when she got the run through the middle and those ones three-wide just struggled a little bit I was pretty confident, because she shows a lot of speed at home.

“She’s probably better with a sit at home, so I was confident she could do it, just needed the luck in the run.”

She got that and produced a narrow win over Bettor Enforce, who’d been valiant in running second and setting the foundation for the race record 1:55.6 mile rate over the 2760 metres.

The win was good reward for the Bathurst born and bred trainer, who admitted post-race her 25-team only continued to knock up getting winners in Victoria “because I’m stuck here”.

“I’d love to get home (to Bathurst), but I can’t at the moment,” she said. “My plan was to come for winter while we didn’t know what was going on through COVID. I haven’t been able to get home since. My stable’s gotten bigger and bigger here and I’ve got a really, really nice team now.”

She also won earlier tonight with Catch A Moment in the Group 3 Alabar Vicbred Championship Final, with James Herbertson steering the four-year-old to the front from where he took the honours comfortably.