Newcastle gelding Don Pellegrino spoiled a local party with a head win in the Krambach Cup (1614m) at Bushland Drive Racecourse, Taree before an excellent crowd on Friday.
The six-year-old gelding trained by Paul Perry and ridden by Paul King snatched victory right on the line from favourite Chalcedony and Mosgiel Ruby, both trained on the track by Matthew Robinson.
With the race extended from 1600m with the rail being out, Robinson could be excused from thinking he was unlucky as Don Pellegrino only won in the last bound.
His six-year-old gelding was the medium of good betting support as it tried to make up for a fourth in last year’s cup behind local mare Cash Spinner.
Robinson’s six-year-old mare ensured there was pace on in being in the leading division and nearly caused a boilover.
But Don Pellegrino, more known for victories over longer journeys, made its run six-wide on the turn and ground solidly to the line.
“It was a great training effort by the master,” said Michael Rowland, his foreman.
“The horse’s racing pattern is getting back and he needs luck.
“Even though he was coming back in distance, his class showed.”
King said he had to work hard early as Don Pellegrino had no early speed and then had to thread his way through the field.
Ballina mare I’ll Miss You was fourth, just ahead of an improved run from Taree’s Another Valley.
Scone gelding Husswick given every chance for sixth despite apprentice Port Macquarie jockey Cejay Graham being hit by a bird entering the straight.
Visiting stables and jockeys shared seven of the wins on the eight-race card held in light rain but on a track which remained in the good range.
The only local win was that of five-year-old Taree gelding Ultimate Decision, trained by Ross Stitt and ridden by local jockey Scott Thurlow in the Class 3 Handicap over 1614m.
The gelding, owned by Stitt and Doug Maclean, grabbed its second win from its past three starts and would have given Maclean a lift after having surgery for an eye problem.
“He would have been good enough to watch it,” Stitt of his fellow-owner.
Ultimate Decision was bought for $5000 when last to be sold on the catalogue and has bled once and had a wind operation before notching its third win, along with nine placings, from 22 starts and took its prizemoney to over $75,000.
Last year’s premier Mid North Coast trainer, Newcastle’s Kris Lees, is right on top to emulate the feat with a winning treble, two of them ridden by jockey Josh Adams, who also had a winning treble.
They combined with three-year-old filly Hermosa Reward in the Maiden Handicap over 1411m and with resuming three-year-old filly Nais Ko, a most impressive just over five lengths victor in the Maiden Plate over 1257m.
Stable rep Cherie Marshman said even though Hermosa Reward was still “green” the filly was looking for the distance whereas Nais Ko had a couple of good trials.
Lees other winner was Sarajevo, ridden by Aaron Bullock in the Class 2 Plate over 1257m.
Adams always had Muswellbrook mare Pel in the leading division before scoring just under a length on the Pat Farrell-trained galloper in the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1007m.
Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer and jockey Robert Thompson combined for a 1.5 length win with improving four-year-old mare Penny Dreadful in the Harrington Hotel Plate over 1007m.
Cessnock mare Annandale Lass, trained by Dean Jackson, was given a rails-hugging ride by Rachael Murray to score by a neck in the Sprint Handicap over 1257m.