Horse racing: Port Macquarie trainer John Sprague not disappointed after Glitra falls short in Taree Cup

Jockey Travis Wolfgram steers Pirate Ben to a comfortable win in the $80,000 Stacks Law Firm Taree Gold Cup at the Bushland Drive Racecourse on Sunday. The winner started at the lucrative odds of 25-1.
Jockey Travis Wolfgram steers Pirate Ben to a comfortable win in the $80,000 Stacks Law Firm Taree Gold Cup at the Bushland Drive Racecourse on Sunday. The winner started at the lucrative odds of 25-1.

2016 TAREE Cup winner Olympic Academy couldn’t back up its success 12 months later on Sunday at Taree.

But it wasn’t the only one that finished well back, with the distance proving too far for Port Macquarie’s emerging star gelding Glitra which didn’t stay the distance at its first try.

Trainer John Sprague wasn’t too disappointed at the result.

“He’s never been over that distance before,” he said.

“I thought he’d handle it a little bit better, but he never got past the 2000-metre mark.”

Sprague said the gelding ran the first three-quarters of the race impressively, but would need more experience over the longer distance.

“He ran the 1600 alright, but we’ll have to start again,” he said.

Wyong trainer Damien Lane “plundered” another trophy to claim a runaway win through six-year-old gelding Pirate Ben in the feature race.

His other starter Mr McBat may have found the journey too long but Lane is happy to have the Wingham Cup which the gelding won over 1600m at Taree on June 2.

“Pirate Ben is a three time city winner, he has proven himself, and he has been unlucky at his last few in town.

“It was a peach of a ride by Travis Wolfgram and the horse will probably go for a break now,” Lane said.

Pirate Ben was always in touch with the pace and scored by two lengths from last year’s third placegetter, seven-year-old gelding Egyptian Ruler, trained by Newcastle’s Ken Lantry, with a neck to the favourite, Admiral Jello, trained by top provincial mentor Kris Lees.

Lees was trying to win his third Taree Cup in the past four years but Admiral Jello showed by his finish that he may be suited by the extra distance of the Wyong Cup.

Lane said Pirate Ben was given to him to train by Melbourne owners and after not showing a lot had developed into “a real trier.”

Wolfgram said he had a beautiful run, had a lap full of horse and “swooped”.

Wolfgram had a winning double, his other one being Muswellbrook four-year-old mare Majestic Pedrille, trained by Mark Schmetzer, in the Wynter Tavern Showcase Fillies & Mares Class 1 Handicap over 1250m.

The trainer has big plans for the mare including a Highway race over 1400m in a couple of weeks and The Championships in April.

The other feature, the 1000 metre Handicap was won by seven-year-old Tuncurry gelding, Arise Augustus, trained by Terry Evans.

Hawksbury apprentice Chelsea Ings parked the gelding mid-field off the good pace up front and then mounted a well-timed run to score by a neck from Cessnock mare Aspiring which had also run second to Arise Augustus when it resumed for a win over 800m at Coffs Harbour on August 3.

Ings has had three rides on Arise Augustus for three wins.

Evans was very happy with her ride and believes his galloper, a twice city winner,deserves a chance in the $150,000 Concorde Stakes over 1000m at Royal Randwick on September 2 and or  the $200,000 The Shorts over 1100m at the same track on September 16.

Taree trainer Ross Stitt, fresh from a winning treble on Friday at the second day of the cup carnival, grabbed a winning double with stable jockey Scott Thurlow in the saddle.

Six-year-old gelding Bluemoon Dream, owned by David Callaughan and his wife, Pip, vindicated a good betting plunge in scoring by two lengths in the XXXX Gold Showcase Entires & Geldings Class 1 Handicap over 1250m.

It was beaten in a photo-finish by Lane’s Rastafarian at Taree Wingham Race Club’s meeting on August 10 and had thrived with beach work.

Tamworth owner Errol French may have been in Queensland but he would be lifted by the two lengths win of his three-year-old gelding Blinkin Artie in the $40,000 Eddie’s Fresh Chickens Showcase 3YO-&-Upwards Country Maiden Handicap over 1400m.

It was only having its fifth start and was the fifth winner for Stitt from six starters on the two days, a remarkable effort.


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