A super ride by Hugh Bowman gave Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride his first Wyong Gold Cup with veteran gelding Destiny’s Kiss proving too strong on the line in a thrilling three-way finish.
The nine-year-old was on the back up from a fourth at Rosehill six days earlier in the Listed Premiers Cup.
Bowman took all the shortcuts on the Power Of Destiny gelding, diving through on the line to win by a long neck.
Pride said Destiny’s Kiss hadn’t had a particularly hard run on Saturday and that had contributed to his win.
“He came here today with still some toughness in his legs,” Pride said.
“I said to Hughie that I didn’t have to think too hard about running him here because the way he pulled up you could just see he was spot on and I loved the way her paraded today.
“He brought his best game here today and turned up with a win.
“He’s had 16 wins which is a lot for a little horse like him. He’s one of the smallest horses in the stable but full of courage. I’m very proud of him and it’s a credit to the team at home.
“It is great to have Hughie on as well.”
It was Bowman’s third Wyong Cup victory, his first came as an apprentice on Pecan Player in 2000, followed by a win on the Waller trained Beyond Thankful in 2015.
The popular jockey was greeted by loud cheers as he returned to scale.
“It’s great to have the support of the people here,” he said.
Bowman described Destiny’s Kiss as a “real little trier.”
“I was quite pleased with him the other day, the way he finished off at Rosehill.
“We were hoping for a bit more give in the ground today but there has just been no rain around.
“He’s been going well enough, it was just a matter of whether I had luck in running and I certainly did. It panned out really well for me.”
“He’s been a great horse for so long and he thoroughly deserves it.”
Owned by Nick Moraitis, Destiny’s Kiss has had 71 starts for his 16 wins and 15 placings, earning well over $1 million in prizemoney.
Paul Perry’s, The Getaway ($41), who qualified for the Cup by winning last Sunday’s Wyong Cup prelude, was gallant in defeat finishing just a long neck behind the winner, with the Waller trained short priced favourite Sayed ($1.35) a nose behind in third.
Just moments after receiving the trainer’s trophy for the most winners at Wyong last season, Bjorn Borg was in the winner’s circle after training a quinella in the $125,000 WINNING COMMERCIAL MONA LISA STAKES (1350m).
Baker’s duo Lubiton ($3.20fav) and Imposing Lass ($5) finished first and second respectively with only three quarters of a length separating them.
An excited Baker said it was wonderful to get the quinella but it didn’t happen often enough.
“It’s fantastic, a great to win for the connections who are wonderful supporters of the stable.
“She’s a valuable filly now being by Snitzel and Imposing Lass went super as well.
“The way the race panned out probably helped because they are both horses that can get over the distance and they were able to put themselves there. It worked out beautifully today.
“I couldn’t split them coming into the race, I said that to everyone, it’s worked out perfectly. It doesn’t often in this game so you take it when it does.
“I think they more middle distance but we’ll have to have a good think about where we go with both of them now if we keep them shorter or try and get them a bit further.
“There is a pretty good race, the Tibbie in Newcastle and races like the Golden Pendant in three weeks so we’ll have to have a big think about it.
“It’s nice to have a couple of fillies heading in that direction. It’s the first day of spring and good way to kick off September and spring.”
The win brought up a race to race double for Glynn Schofield, who said it was a reproduction of Lubiton’s last effort when she won at Canterbury.
“She showed today that Bjorn has her in a really good vein of form. It was a good, tough win,” he said.
Kim Waugh’s Hetty Heights ($9) finished a close third.
An exciting home track win for Wyong trainer Norm Rogers, with Alaskan Wolf ($21) upsetting some of the more favoured runners to score a half length win in the 1100m THE DOYLO SPRINGTIME – BENCHMARK 75 HANDICAP.
The five-year-old mare, raced by Rogers, was coming off two mid-week metropolitan runs where she performed well.
Despite the big price he thought she would run a good race.
“I was confident but no-one else was,” Rogers laughed. “At her last start she drew the outside, Timmy (Clarke) rode her and we had to drag her back.
“She was 10 off them and was only beaten two and a half lengths.
“Today she had a better gate and Glyn has ridden her twice before so he knew what to do.
“We got a good price and that made it better. There is no better day to win a race here than Cup Day.”
Rogers is a local real estate agent and has two horses in work.
Schofield said Alaskan Wolf had been “knocking at the door” with some good efforts in town.
“She raced a lot closer to the speed today than what she normally does. Norm wanted me to be a lot more positive today and let her know she’s in a race.
“Once she got to the lead she knuckled down strongly. She was on the money today.”
Canberra visitor Fox Tales ($5) finished second, with the Lees trained $4.40 favourite Rosa Carolina, coming home strongly to be a half head behind in third.
It was a happy Winona Costin who returned to scale after taking out the 1600m BISHOP COLLINS ACCOUNTANTS BENCHMARK 65 HANDICAP, her first win in almost 12 months.
Costin booted Coys ($6.50) to victory for Marc Connors, at her ninth ride since returning from serious injury.
She has been sidelined for the better part of a year after suffering a serious leg injury and then breaking both wrists, only three days after a comeback.
Costin won plenty of supporters at Wyong with a gun ride, her mid-race move securing a length victory for the five-year-old gelding.
“It’s been a long time coming, almost a year now since I had a race win,” she said.
“Marc’s a great supporter and he’s got this horse in good order.
“He got out the front rolling and doesn’t give up when he gets to the front. He got a bit keen but finished off well. “
The victory continued a great day for the Connors family with Marc training a winner at Goulburn and Clarry’s Torvill winning earlier on the Wyong program.
Maree Connors said Marc had been very confident about the chances of Coys.
“Marc thought he’d win,” she said. “We love Wyong.”
Jeff Englebrecht’s The Iron Maiden ($21) was second, with Tatoosh ($4.40) trained by Wendy Roche, a half neck behind in third.
Michael Hawkes believes there are bigger victories in store for his well-bred colt Showtime, after the three-year-old broke through for his maiden debut with an effortless four and a half length victory.
Starting $1.30 favourite, the $1.1m purchase, was having his seventh career run and a win was vital for his future breeding prospects.
“It taught him something today and that is why we are here,” Michael Hawkes said.
“We wanted him to be in the lead and Brenton did exactly that. He travelled really well.
“He’s been in better races before but with bigger weights. It was a confidence thing for him and hopefully this will be good for him going forward.
“It was all about winning today and he did that in good form.”
Jockey Brenton Avdulla, jokingly said he had lived up to his nickname as the “Baby Faced Assassin” with the win, his first after shaving a beard he had grown for charity.
Taking an early lead in the small field, Avdulla let Showtime go just before the straight and he sped away for a dominant win.
“I just kept him comfortable. He’s a horse that’s show a decent amount of ability but he hasn’t been able to win one,” Avdulla said.
“I still think he’s lacking that bit of killer instinct but hopefully after today it will all kick in.”
Showtime, by Snitzel out of American mare Fidais, took out the 1200m BIOCHEM WATER CG&E MAIDEN PLATE from the Les Bridge trained Hail Hero ($19), with the Waller trained Silverwin ($3.70), a long neck behind in third.
Clarry Connors will head to a metropolitan race with his filly Torvill following her strong win in the SENPOS F&M MAIDEN PLATE (1200m).
By Not A Single Doubt, Torvill ($2.90) was having her third career start, after being narrowly beaten at Gosford on August 17.
Connors said he had always had a high opinion of the filly and had started her in two group races last preparation.
“She is a nice little filly,” he said after the win.
“She showed a good turn of foot coming to the turn today. They were racing fairly tight and I was hoping she was going to get out.
“She is a strong filly and still growing. She was able to push out because of her strength and she’s going very well as you can see.
“She shows a heap of ability. I’ll go to town with her now because she’s a top filly and she wants further.
“Before she wasn’t jumping but Christian (Reith) has ridden her twice now and he got her to jump. The addition of the blinkers also helped.
“She’s turned the corner with them.”
Reith said Torvill was starting to “behave herself” in races and while she was a bit wary when she got to the front it was a good win.
She won by a length and a half over the Gerald Ryan trained Venture Capital ($13), with the Waterhouse and Bott trained Mystic Empire ($3.50) a further length and a half behind in third.
A decision by Kris Lees to run Princess Posh at Wyong instead of Canterbury on Wednesday proved to be a winning one, with the mare scoring a comfortable win.
The four-year-old could be headed for another attempt at the Provincial Championships after her three quarter of a length win in the 1300m HUNTER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS DA VINCI – 3&4YO BENCHMARK 71 HANDICAP.
Ridden by Blake Shinn, Princess Posh ($2.25fav) stalked the leaders for the better part of the race, before being taken to the outside and coming home over the top of her opposition.
Lees stable foreman Cameron Swan was full of praise for the effort, especially with the mare carrying 59kg.
“It worked out really well and we were confident a long way out with the run she had,” Swan said.
“It was very good to win for a big bunch of owners and Australian Bloodstock who support us very well.
“We will probably test her in better races over the Spring and maybe if she’s not over raced that much have another shot at the Provincial Championship.
“We had her ready a bit early this year and she went off just before the finals, so I think Kris would look at that. “
Shinn also considered it a good win with the weight.
“The other horses had 55kg so I was thankful the speed was there early and I was able to give her a nice trail.
“She hit the line strongly and it was nice to see her get the job done.”
Princess Posh, a $25,000 purchase, brought up her third win beating the second favourite Schubert ($2.70) trained by James Cummings, with Feirin ($5.50) from the Cummings stable, almost two lengths behind in third.
James Cummings had to wait until the last race to taste success on Wyong Cup day but he did it in fine style with Piracy ($2.60) winning the HC GROUP CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1200m) by almost two and a half lengths.
The Exceed and Excel gelding made it back to back victories, coming off a last start win at Warwick Farm.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy took and early sit, bringing the three-year-old to the outside on straightening where he pulled away for a soft win.
Stable foreman Nacim Dilmi said McEvoy had taken Piracy to front fairly easily which had set him up for the win.
“He’s a difficult horse to read at home because he’s hard going in his work.
“The more he races the better he gets and it was nice to see him get another win today.”
McEvoy described Piracy as a progressive horse.
“He’s on the upward spiral that’s for sure.
“He impressed me with his trials and he’s won both these last two races nicely.
“He is improving all the time and looks to have a future.”
Piracy beat the Lees trained $1.75 favourite Raiden, with Proane ($41) trained by Luke Hilton, a half length behind in third.