Johnsons Finish Stellar Year In Style

Buckle Up Rose confirmed her status as one of the best in Tasmania with an empathic victory over Finnigans Way at Launceston on Monday night.

Brennan Ryan

2 January 2019

Buckle Up Rose confirmed her status as one of the best in Tasmania with an empathic victory over Finnigans Way at Launceston on Monday night.

Returning to the winners, the daughter of Buckle Up Wes and Jamila Flex sweated on a last stride performance in the 515m Invitation, holding out Finnigans Way by a nose in a best of night 30.09.

Now a winner of 13 races, Buckle Up Rose is owned and bred at Leith by Gary and Robyn Johnson.

“They are not machines – you can’t expect them to win all the time – and when your draw bad boxes, not everything can go the way you think it will,” Robyn Johnson said.

“Buckle Up Rose and Finnigans Way have met on a few occasions and when he (Finnigans Way) got to the front at the first turn I though it was all over, but our bitch used her intelligence and manoeuvred in and around the field which is the best thing about her.

“Normally she would wait for an inside run but what was exciting to see was her hook to the outside of Finnigans Way, and really put her best effort forward – I can’t ask her to do anymore than that, she absolutely loves Launceston.”

It was Buckle Up Rose’s final start for 2018, in what was a remarkable year, highlighted by representing Tasmania in the National Sprint Championships at Sandown Park.

She has won nine races from 23 starts over the 515-metre journey at Launceston with a personal best time of 29.61.

Buckle Up Rose will most likely join some of her kennelmates in contesting the highly anticipated heats of the Group 3 Dowling McCarthy Tyres Devonport Cup next week on January 8.

Earlier in the night, Robyn also ended the year on a high as a trainer, when Buckle Up Ava broke through for her first win in a 515m Grade 6, her final chance in that company before turning two next month.

Robyn ends 2018 with 27 wins while Gary prepared his 102th winner – a rather strong combination!

“We don’t set out chasing big results, it’s a big team effort with all our dogs and to get two winners at the last meeting of the year is a great result for everyone involved,” added Robyn.

The final race meeting for 2018 delivered plenty of interest, with the state’s leading trainer Anthony Bullock preparing three winners on the program, starting with Kayda Affair saluting the judge first in the opening race of the night.

His Exeter-based kennel claimed two more wins, courtesy of Crazy Wolf ($2.80) and Alolo Miss ($4.30).

Meanwhile, smart chaser Muppet staged a bold front-running performance to land her seventh career victory for owner Thomas Herbert and Dysart trainer Patrick Pearce, leading all-the-way to score convincingly over Stylish Russell in 30.16.

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