Furphy Bunbury Cup: David Harrison-trained Blazing Away leaves punters looking on in awe

Justin FrisBunbury Herald
Blazing Away, salutes in the Furphy Bunbury Cup ahead of No Apology, ridden by Myalup's Lucy Warwick.
Camera IconBlazing Away, salutes in the Furphy Bunbury Cup ahead of No Apology, ridden by Myalup's Lucy Warwick. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times

David Harrison’s five-year-old Blazing Away stormed home to claim Saturday’s 2023 Furphy Bunbury Cup (2100m) at a baking-hot Ascot on Saturday.

Harrison’s gelding pipped No Apology, ridden by Myalup’s Lucy Warwick, by a head at the winning post — while pre-race $1.65 fancy Casino Seventeen, ran third.

In an absorbing trip, Blazing Away’s rider Joseph Azzopardi pushed the button on Harrison’s five-year-old at the top of the home straight, after he had spent the majority of the feature at the rear of the field.

Chris Parnham, who was piloting Casino Seventeen, made things interesting with less than 1000m to run, when he boldly scooted up on the outside, drawing level with the pacemakers.

Prior to this surge, race leader General Grant had been comfortably out in front by 1.5 lengths, with Warwick also maintaining solid line speed.

In the blink of an eye, the pace intensified considerably, with Parnham and General Grant’s rider Shaun McGruddy electing to break away from the field and engage in a scintillating sprint into the straight.

Naturally, this exceptional turn of foot from both runners could not last the journey — and sure enough, a grandstand finish ensued.

After momentarily, hitting the front with less than 200m to run, Casino Seventeen was tackled by No Apology, seemingly giving Warwick an unforgettable Furphy Bunbury Cup/Tabtouch Bunbury Stakes riding double.

No sooner had this thought surfaced, Blazing Away scorched down the centre of the track and got the nod when it mattered.

Post-race, Harrison gave insight into his pre-race instructions for Azzopardi.

“He just ran a little bit too early last time,” Harrison said. “It was not Paul’s (Harvey) fault, it was just how circumstances happened.

“I just said to him (Azzopardi) just leave it to the last second — pretend you are ‘Pikey’ (jockey William Pike) and wait until the last bit.

“I was always confident because when they went too early, I thought that it would help him.”

Harrison has no qualms about his five-year-old’s present preparation to date.

“Blazing Away has been going super,” he said. “He has had bad luck and there has not been pace in his last few races, and that is what he needs.

“He is one of those stayers who needs a bit of pace so he can have a last shot at them.”

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