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.’’
Three Shepparton companies have received Victorian Government grants for their innovative practises.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
The Rotary Club of Tatura has inducted four new members since the middle of last year.
Echuca tennis player Regan More and Echuca cricketer Taylor Beard are March 2014's Sportstar nominees.
Police are diverting traffic on the Midland Hwy south of Elmore following a collision between two trucks this afternoon.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Plenty of entries and an enjoyable afternoon.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
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Students took to Cobram library for holiday Easter-themed craft.
Following a massive win against the Deni Rovers on Saturday, the Bloods have hit top spot for the first time since 2009.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Two drivers were lucky to escape injury after a truck and car collided on Midland Hwy near Benalla this afternoon.
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