It was ironic that on a weekend where the final City-Country rugby league match was played in Mudgee, a horse brandishing silks designed as the City jersey was successful in the Gooree Cup.
(min cost $8)
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The $40,000 feature was the highlight of a stacked seven-race program at Mudgee racecourse, and the perfect scene-setter for a magnificent weekend in the town.
Warwick Farm trainer Jarrod Austin isn’t afraid to travel his horses to places he thinks they can win, and he was rewarded for that attitude when consistent gelding Hirokin took out the 1600m cup.
Luckless when third in the recent Orange Cup Prelude, Hirokin then finished a close-up sixth at Warwick Farm before breaking through in Saturday’s event.
Wearing the yellow with two blue vees, jockey Andrew Banks had to get everything out of the gelding to stave off a late challenge from Star Of Legs ($7.00, Daniel Northey), with early leader Mystery Flight ($12.00, Serg Lisnyy) holding on for third.
Saturday’s win was the eighth of Hirokin’s career and took his prizemoney earnings past the $140,000 mark.
The victory was the second leg of a winning double on the day for Banks, who earlier piloted classy Cowra-trained sprinter Heza Thief to victory in the Winners Circle Wine Club Benchmark 70 Handicap (1200m).
The Ken Parsons-prepared five-year-old has built an enviable record, but hadn’t saluted in a race in almost 12 months.
But a drop in grade helped the Time Thief x Countess Of Fun gelding get back into the winners circle.
Banks allowed noted speedster Dunderry to cross to the lead in the small field, and sat in that gelding’s slipstream for the first half of the race.
But approaching the 600m mark, he hooked off the fence and started to apply pressure to the outside of the frontrunner.
With favoured pair Busting Through ($2.90 fav, Greg Ryan) and Hot Vinni ($3.20, Daniel Northey) out the back of the field, Banks got motoring and Hez Thief ($3.80) assumed control of the race at the top of the straight and shot away to win by one-and-a-half lengths from Don’t Tell Linda ($15.00, Shaun Guymer), with Dunderry holding on for third place.
Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker had a mixed day, with Vega booming down the outside to win the final event on the program.
But earlier, fans of cult hero Horsey McHorseface were hoping his face was a fraction longer when the $1.60 pop was nosed out by local Rident Home, which started at $41 for trainer David Smith.
Horsey McHorseface has now had two starts for two minor placings.
For all the photos of the ‘Best Dressed’ entrants and race photos head to www.mudgeeguardian.com.au.
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