The prolific trainer-jockey combination of John Bateman and Blaike McDougall was on display at Canberra on Wednesday as LAMINGTON DRIVE saluted in the 2000m Class 1 Handicap.
Bateman and McDougall have become a formidable team in the Southern Districts region of NSW.
Indeed, McDougall is riding winners for the stable at a strike rate of 26.1% and has provided the last three Bateman-trained winners.
LAMINGTON DRIVE started a $1.90 favourite on Wednesday and was afforded another beautiful McDougall ride behind the speed, before launching in the straight to win by 1.1 lengths, with more than 13 lengths back to the third-placed runner.
A son of HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, LAMINGTON DRIVE has built a consistent record to date with 12 top-three finishes in 17 career starts.
McDougall’s value in the saddle was further highlighted four races later when he denied the Bateman-trained WAR DECK in a photo finish aboard LOAFING for Keith Dryden.
There was contact between the runners over the last 100m and a protest was lodged by WAR DECK’s rider John Kissick, however stewards ruled that the interference was insufficient to overturn the result despite the margin being only 0.07 lengths.
LAMINGTON DRIVE’s win was Proven Thoroughbreds’ 30th for the season and 3rd for the new year.
On day 2 of the 2021 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Proven Thoroughbreds acquired a colt by CARAVAGGIO from COROMANDEL to be trained by Bateman.