It may have been a victory 50 years in the making, but Seymour trainer Ray Plant was finally able to get his hands on the Merton Cup at Merton last Sunday.TIM WOOD January 9, 2013 4:00am
‘‘I came here about 50 years ago and ran a horse in the cup,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a two horse field .
Half a century later his four-year-old mare Safa Park Girl recorded a comfortable four-and-a-half length win in warm conditions.
The trainer was honest in his assessment after the race of the mare he had obtained earlier this year from a NSW stable.
‘‘She goes around all right,’’ he said.
‘‘She’s just an ordinary horse, but she really plugs away.’’
After winning at Yea last month, the veteran trainer knew he had the mare in good shape going into the cup.
‘‘I felt very confident before the race,’’ he said.
For his young jockey Reece Goodwin, the journey to a Merton Cup victory has been a little shorter.
In just his first season of riding, and his very first ride at Merton, the fifteen-year-old was able to ride Safa Park Girl to an easy win.
In a ride that belied his inexperience, Reece allowed the mare to settle midfield before making a race winning move at the 600
‘‘I had a few tips from the experienced jockeys and they said to get rolling around the side of the track,’’ Goodwin said after the race.
‘‘They said if you’re in front on the corner here, you’re a good chance.
‘‘As soon as I got around them today I thought she was going to be really hard to run down.’’
Plant was full of praise for his young jockey.
‘‘He’s done a mighty job.
‘‘He rides her in all her track work and he wins on her, which is really good.’’
The Merton Racing Club (the second oldest club still racing) presented Plant with a trophy and rug minutes after the win.
Plant’s colourful acceptance speech included praise for the Merton club, his young jockey and finished with a friendly ‘‘bake’’ for the local book makers who had sent his mare out as an odds-on favourite; Plant felt they could have been a bit more generous.
Plant is realistic about the mare’s chances going forward.
‘‘She won’t be going to Flemington,’’ he said.
While pleased with her cup win, he feels she is best suited running in picnic races.
‘‘I don’t think she’s good enough to make it at the next level, so I think we’ll stick with the picnics.’’
Shepparton Swans and Benalla both had altered coaching panels for the Goulburn Valley Football League grand final rematch on Saturday.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The second annual Bonnie and Clyde Rods, Rats and Rides Festival fired up at Tatura Park at the weekend (April 11-12), drawing thousands of petrol heads and rockabilly music lovers to Tatura.
As part of Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May, the Riverine Herald will shed light on the debilitating, yet controversial, illness through the eyes of those fighting it.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Deniliquin bowler Dennis O'Keefe lost 25-19 in his bid for a quarter-final spot in the Victorian Singles Championships this week.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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