Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cox wins Echuca Cup and two others

Wodonga trainer Brian Cox has had a big weekend, winning the Echuca Cup with Minnie Downs and the Corowa and Towong cups.

HANNAH DRISCOLL March 10, 2014 4:05am

Brian Cox’s Minnie Downs (left), ridden by Regan Bayliss, just pips Peter Moody’s Kitten On The Run on the post in the Echuca Cup yesterday.

The weekend became the Cox Cup carnival.

Wodonga trainer Brian Cox took out a treble of country cups at the weekend, including the $70000 Echuca Cup yesterday, while Echuca trainer Gwenda Johnstone won the other feature event at her hometown named after another of her racehorses.

Cox’s five-year-old mare Minnie Downs, last year’s Bendigo Gold Bracelet winner and runner-up in the Rewards Trophy on Melbourne Cup day, won the Echuca Cup yesterday ahead of Peter Moody’s Kitten On The Run and Terry and Karina O’Sullivan’s Magic Me.

Minnie Downs settled on the inside in the middle of the field, and did not find an opportunity for a clear run until the 200m, but lunged to the line to pip Kitten On The Run and a fast-finishing Magic Me to the post.

An hour later another of Cox’s horses, Full Hand, won the $30000 Corowa Cup with the trainer already taking home the Towong Cup on Saturday with nine-year-old He’s An Angel.

Echuca Racing Club chief executive Alex Doble said the Echuca Cup win was ‘‘a well-deserved win for connections’’.

‘‘Brian Cox has been a very long supporter of Echuca Racing Club, there’s not too many meetings where he doesn’t have a runner,’’ Doble said. ‘‘Congratulations to Brian and the connections and a great ride by an apprentice, Regan Bayliss.

‘‘Obviously it’s a non-claiming race, so Brian thought enough of him to put him on its back and good luck to both of them, a great success.’’

In the next race at Echuca, Johnstone was the only local entry with What A Snitz in the $40000 Shadoways Sprint, the race named after the only Echuca-trained Group One winner.

Johnstone also trained Shadoways and held the spoils of what could be seen as her own race yesterday after What A Snitz, ridden by Jack Hill, scored his fourth win narrowly from Peter Moody’s Bel Seal.

The four-year-old jumped beautifully from the outside barrier to settle in second behind Snip The Dancer, who started from the inside.

Snip The Dancer led the nine-horse field into the straight until just past the 200m mark when Bel Seal, ridden by Linda Meech, and What A Snitz kicked and overtook him.

The two raced to the line but the local won by a nose.

Doble said it was great to have a local winner of the Shadoways Sprint after Johnstone had two of the five runners last year, but only took third and fourth.

‘‘As part of her acceptance speech she said she thought she had a reasonably good chance last year... but a couple of days ago she didn’t fancy her chances due to the fact it had drawn a wide barrier,’’ Doble said.

‘‘But it jumped very well and got a nice possie behind the leader and it probably looked a bit flat on the home turn and all of a sudden it got a second wind and it steamed home and got the decision on the line.’’

Minnie Downs paid $5 for a win, while What A Snitz paid $12.80.

They were far from the most outside chances to get up; the last race yesterday went to El Mandoma, paying $15.70, while the race five winner Comical Time paid $51.80.

There were also a few unexpected results on Saturday with Shecky’s Laughter paying $16.10 for winning the third race.

It was a successful meeting for Benalla trainer Vince Nolen, with Haiti winning the fourth race, a 2100m handicap on Saturday, while Ravenscroft, ridden by Luke Nolen, won the first race of the Moama RSL Plate yesterday.

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