Wodonga trainer Brian Cox claimed the $70,000 Moama RSL Echuca Cup with five-year-old mare Minnie Downs.LUKE MCMANUS March 10, 2014 4:53am
Local connections of the Gwenda Johnstone-trained What a Snitz were treated to an emphatic victory in yesterday’s Shadoways Sprint, which capped off a brilliant weekend of racing at the Echuca Cup Carnival.
About 3000 people enjoyed the afternoon sunshine during the two-day carnival and were treated to some top-quality racing.
The $40,000 Shadoways Sprint, named after Johnstone’s champion gelding, was claimed by What a Snitz ($17) with a strong finish.
With the early speed, in which the four-year-old jumped to a two-length lead, jockey Jack Hill eased her back to allow Snip the Dancer to set the pace for most of the 1400m race.
After catching the leader in the final straight, What a Snitz looked fatigued just as the Peter Moody-trained Bel Seal applied some pressure on the outside.
Catching a glimpse of her rival, Johnstone’s filly found a second wind to hold off Bel Seal in an epic photo-finish.
‘‘It’s a great thrill to win at your home track,’’ Mick Johnstone said.
‘‘She had plenty of gate speed, she hit the ground running, the inside horse (Snip the Dancer) eventually hit the lead which suited her and allowed her to follow.
‘‘She was under pressure with 600m to go, but Jack (Hill) kept riding her hard.
‘‘Just as she looked to have the race won, she spotted the horse (Bel Seal) on the outside and kicked on to get her nose in front to win.
‘‘She’s a tough filly and the win was well-deserved.’’
Wodonga trainer Brian Cox also walked away a happy man after claiming the $70,000 Moama RSL Echuca Cup.
Cox’s five-year-old mare Minnie Downs came from behind to claim the feature race by a photo finish, defeating the Peter Moody-trained Kitten On The Run by a nose.
After spending most of the race three back on the rails, jockey Regan Bayliss found a way out of congestion in a final-straight flurry, storming home to secure the gutsy win.
Echuca Racing Club chief executive Alex Doble said the Wodonga-based trainer knew the Echuca track well, yesterday’s triumph handed Cox his third win at Echuca in six months.
‘‘Great to see Brian win here again and take home the cup, he was over the moon,’’ Doble said.
‘‘There’s not many runs at Echuca in which Brian and connections aren’t a part of.’’
‘‘It was great to see Brian have so much faith in apprentice Regan Bayliss.
‘‘He (Bayliss) told me after the race that he turned to Linda (Linda Meech, jockey on Kitten On The Run) and asked whether he had won — even he didn’t know at the line.’’
The district’s hopes rested on the shoulders of Echuca-based trainers John Thomas and Dean Boal.
Thomas’ Offshore Echo, ridden by Josh Cartwright, finished seventh after trailing the pack for the opening 700m of the race, picking up four places in time for the winning post.
Boal raced his four-year-old mare Luperini at Swan Hill on Friday and was a late scratching for the cup.
Doble said despite mixed results from local trainers over the two days, Johnstone’s win was a consolation prize.
‘‘It was a really good weekend,’’ Doble said.
‘‘Echuca embodies the relaxed racing strategy which caters for everyone.
‘‘The win added something to the day, the locals really got behind Gwenda in this race.
‘‘Our trainers work very hard and to reach success at their home track means a lot.’’
Doble said the crowd was well-behaved over the two days with no incidents apart from ‘‘only a few objections’’ which reflected the club’s stance on responsible service of alcohol.
Saturday was the annual ladies’ day, with Home and Away stars Lincoln Lewis and Nic Westaway mingling with the crowd of about 200 in the marquee.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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