Gary Harley – Wrap – 03.04.24

Nash Rawiller produced a gem of a ride to steer talented Warwick Farm mare Terra Mater to victory in the Polytrack Provincial – Midway Wild Card at Newcastle on Wednesday. With three spots in the $1 million series final up for grabs on April 13, a cracking field of Class 5 gallopers lined up for the Wild Card, run on a Good 4 surface.

Rawiller who had ridden Terra Mater in all three metropolitan starts for three wins last preparation, drove up the M1 for the one mount. The mare backed from $4.20 second favourite into $3.60, sped out of barrier seven to lead clearly soon after the start. Rawiller then eased Terra Mater back into fourth place on the rail and she had a lovely run off the speed.  There were anxious moments in the home straight when her jockey went for a run inside Cloudland and was checked. However, when the mare got clear running, she dashed away and then held off the fast finish of the $3.30 favorite Willinga Freefall to win by .22 of a length, with Baltic Coast ($26) a length away third.

Kris Lees, who has an amazing record in this series which he has won five times, claimed second, third and fourth (Little Beginnings) and will have five runners including $3.20 favourite Tavi Time in the final at Randwick on April 13. Rawiller spoke with Sky Racing’s Melinda Turner following the race. “Jarrod has done a wonderful job with Terra Mater and placed her so well throughout her career. He said there was still improvement in her before the race and she was tough. Cloudland got me three times in the straight as he weaved in and out. I didn’t know what he was going to do”.

Lees was very happy with Willinga Freefall, and he was interviewed by Sky’s Gavin Carmody following the race” Willinga Freefall ran well as he was held up and charged late from the back. He should bounce back well after that run. Baltic Coast was solid after being three wide with cover. Tavi Time is the stables number one seed for the final but the barrier draws and the weather can play a part”.

Trainer Jarrod Austin was ecstatic “Terra Mater tries so hard and what a record she has, the mare loves the big track, but she was in a precarious position in the straight when Cloudland was ducking and weaving. She loves Randwick and I can’t wait for the final” he said post-race. Terra Mater has had thirteen starts for six wins and six placings.

Following the Wild Card the top end of the TAB market for the final is $3.20 Tavi Time, $5.00 Territory Express, $7.00 Shadows Of Love, $9.00 Ausbred Flirt, $9.00 Strait Acer, $11.00 Terra Mater, and $15.00 Willinga Freefall.