Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Seventy-year-old Karen Bennett realised a dream when she produced Majestic Dream in fine fettle for her first tilt as a trainer in a group 1 event — the $50,000 Choices Flooring For Rugs WA Trotters Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
A former successful thoroughbred trainer in New Zealand, Mrs Bennett and her husband Frank (77) arrived in Western Australia on January 28, 2021, and they celebrated this exact 12-month anniversary in joyful fashion when Majestic Dream, a $6.40 chance, produced a powerful finishing burst to score an emphatic victory over Tears Of Joy ($17) and Tricky Ric ($6).
Originally from Southbridge, 45km south-west of Christchurch, the Bennetts spent 11 years in Brisbane where they enjoyed plenty of success with their team of square gaiters.
Their two sons moved to Western Australia, so we decided to move over here, said Frank Bennett, still an active reinsman who notched his first win in WA when he drove Elish Star to victory in a 2116m stand at Pinjarra in November.
Karen Bennett prepares five trotters at the family’s 15-acre property at Wandering, and she purchased Majestic Dream, now a six-year-old mare, in November from her Victorian owners, who telephoned her and asked if she would be interested in buying the mare.
Mrs Bennett had bought Orlandos Princess, a half-sister to Majestic Dream, earlier in the year, and she was saddened when that mare, a winner of six races, died on the trip from Victoria to WA. The owners were anxious to compensate Mrs Bennett for her loss.
At the time Majestic Dream had a losing sequence of 23, after winning at four of her first 17 starts. The owners were confident that Majestic Dream had the ability to be a good winner in WA. They have been proved right, with Majestic Dream winning at five of her first seven starts in WA, earning $51,985.
The Bennetts are thoroughly enjoying the country life in WA, and they have won three races with Malabar Spur, as well as winning with Elish Star and Shanhill, running four placings with Hedge Your Bet and a couple of placings with Lansbury before retiring her recently.
Majestic Dream’s victory gave 31-year-old Kyle Harper his fifth group 1 driving success and took his tally of wins to 722. Majestic Dream began safely from barrier five on the front line in the 2503m stand and she settled down in ninth position, with Tears Of Joy setting the pace after Line The Starzzz had begun speedily and had got her head in front of Tears Of Joy before breaking into a gallop after about 100m and dropping back to the rear.
The $1.95 favourite Beefour Bacardi broke briefly early before quickly mustering speed to dash to the front after 570m. He resisted a challenge for the lead from Tricky Ric at the 1300m before Gary Hall jnr was able to take the trail behind the favourite.
Majestic Dream was tenth at the 600m before Harper sent her forward with a sparkling burst at the 500m. She sustained her effort to get to the front in the final 50m to win in fine style.
Harper continued in winning vein at Northam on Saturday night when he drove a double with Absolute Delight ($7) and Love My Life ($2).