Simple Too Strong
14 July 2011
Strong Intention caused a major upset by winning the $58,000 Group 2 McKenna Memorial final at Sandown Park tonight.
Fastest heat winner Shimaguni was sent to the boxes a $2.40 favourite ahead of Mystic Apple ($2.50) looking for his eighth consecutive win. However it was Strong Intention ($14.50) who began best, springing from box five to take the early lead.
Mystic Apple switched to the outside and set off in pursuit of the lamp lighter as Iceman Raikkonen cleared away from the pack in third.
The chasing pack could make no inroads down the back straight as the Group 2 feature became a race in two. Mystic Apple closed the gap to less than a length on turning for home but could do no more, Strong Intention holding on to win by three quarters of a length in 32.27 seconds.
Bling It On ($23.20) capitalised on a dream rails run on the final turn to run third a further four lengths adrift, just ahead of the luckless Shimaguni.
Trained by Lara trainer James Ennis and owned in Dingley by Todd O’Neill, the win was Strong Intention’s 12th victory in 41 career starts and his first over the middle distance. The $40,000 winner’s cheque took the son of Brett Lee’s career prizemoney to $80,230.
The McKenna series, being run over the new 595m distance for the second time, proved again an overwhelming success for the Club with five quality heats contributing to a final of the highest calibre.
A Happy Team after the McKenna Final
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4
th Shimaguni ($2.40), 5
th Punk Warrior ($13.30), 6
th Full Circle ($26.60) 7
th Iceman Raikkonen ($12.00) and 8
th Daintree Palace ($16.60).
Strong Intention is a Black dog whelped October ’08 he is by Brett Lee from So Busy (Bitability Bale x Gleaming Sarah). He is raced by Todd O’Neill and trained by Jamie Ennis and the Group 2 McKenna Memorial win took his record to 41 starts for 12 wins and 16 placings and prizemoney earnings of $80,230.
The McKenna Memorial was first run in 1971 and acknowledges the contribution to the Sandown Club by legendary administrator Jack McKenna. McKenna came to Sandown and took the job of Club secretary in the 1940’s from Tatura in central Victoria. He had held the position of secretary of the Tatura Plumpton Coursing Club and he made a major impact after arriving in the city. He was instrumental in the club’s advancement in many ways but importantly its move across the railway line and the purchase of the land of the current site. McKenna’s ability as an administrator is still to this day talked about in revenant terms and the sport and particularly Sandown will always be in his debt. The honour roll listed below of past winners is a classy one it starts with National Distance Champ Saki Dasher trained by Aussie Rules superstar Bob Pratt and finishes with this year’s winner Strong Intention plus last year’s winner Flash of Light both who won over the 595. When the race was conducted over the 700 the list contains some of the best stayers of all time.
1971 Saki Dasher, 1972 Binica, 1973 Lizrene, 1974 Audiro, 1975 La Sierra, 1976 Bolta’s Gift, 1977 Miss O’Dare, 1978 Irish Temptress, 1979 Precious Charm, 1980 Tarmoor Eagle, 1981 Leader’s Jester, 1982 Supplier, 1983 Quick Pulse, 1984 Sheila’s Teresa, 1985 Doris Lee, 1986 Plunderer, 1987 High Intensity, 1988 Lady Paragon, 1989 Rules, 1990 National Honour, 1991 Pleasure, 1992 Pace Galore, 1993 Havadip, 1994 Minyama, 1995 Keon Star, 1996 Wiljaver, 1997 Sam’s Idol, 1998 Totally Ablaze, 1999 Kobble Creek, 2000 Osti’s Joker, 2001 Pearl Larricki, 2002 Boomeroo, 2003 Arvo’s Junior, 2004 Arvo’s Athena, 2005 Malfoy, 2006 Token Arrow, 2007 Miss Grub, 2008 Fallen Zorro, 2009 Mantra Lad and 2010 Flash Of Light.
Thanks to Mick Floyd Sandown Racing &Media Manager for story content.
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