Like his famous namesake the John O’Shea trained Benaud has written himself into the record books claiming the 2023 Listed Carlton Wyong Gold Cup.
And it was rising star Dylan Gibbons who rode the five-year-old to victory giving the son of Reliable Man his first black type win.
The Cup was marred by a dramatic mid-race fall around the 800m, with front runner The Mediterranean faltering causing a ricochet effect, which resulted in three jockeys being dislodged and six runners pulled out of the race.
Fortunately, riders Regan Bayliss, Tim Clark and Brett Prebble escaped serious injuries.
Gibbons had settled Benaud mid field and was able to avoid the trouble caused by the fall, storming down the outside in the straight to claim victory from fellow grey and race favorite Bois D’Argent.
The win was the result of a well thought out plan by O’Shea, who took Benaud to Wyong for a 2100m Class 1 in July, hoping for a confidence boosting win and run on the track.
The plan worked with the gelding posting a six-length victory, before returning to Wyong after a failed run in the Grafton Cup and freshen up, to claim the club’s biggest prize.
“He’s been going good and had a lovely draw to get an economical run in the race. He was well weighted, and we thought it was a great opportunity for him”
While the win was only the third for Benaud, he has had three previous Group placings to his name, including a second to Hitotsu in the G1 ATC Australian Derby.
It’s O’Shea’s second Wyong Cup win in as many years after claiming victory in 2021 with another grey Berdibek.
The Annabel Neasham pair Bois D’Argent ($4.60fav) and Spirit Ridge ($13) filled the minor placings.
O’Shea’s victory in the Cup atoned for a second in the day’s other feature the Mona Lisa, where he trained runner-up Sanstoc.
The Mona Lisa can turn up a long shot and this year was no exception with Peter and Paul Snowden’s Mirra View taking out the $200k Listed race returning $26.
The More Than Ready five-year-old was given the perfect ride by Chad Schofield, who came from midfield with a sustained run in the straight to grab victory.
In a huge result for the Snowden’s the well supported Wollombi finished third, behind Sanstoc ($21), who protested unsuccessfully against the winner.
A delighted Peter Snowden described Mirra View as a “very genuine, honest filly.”
“This is the level she’s been looking for and it’s great to see her get black type to her name. She’s been the victim of too good a barrier in the past but today it worked out beautifully from the gate and they went quick enough for her to get back and go through her revs.
“Chad got her out in plenty of time and it was good to see her get the job done. The owners are great supporters of the stable and I’m very happy for them.”
Snowden said he was also thrilled with the performance of the well supported Wollombi ($4.40), who despite being caught wide throughout finished third.
It was an effortless win by the Godolphin trained Balkans ($2.70) to take out the inaugural running of the $60,000 Super Maiden over 1200m.
Zac Lloyd box seated on the Lonhro colt before angling him to the outside in the final stages steering him to an easy victory.
It was a pickup ride for Lloyd, replacing the injured McDonald.
Darren Beadman said they had expected the three-year-old colt to race well.
“He’s a lovely horse, a big scoping horse and we expected him to get around Wyong pretty well. He had no luck at Canterbury on debut, but it taught him to race and laid a nice foundation for this race.”
Clarry Conners Peace Officer ($3.50) was a dominant winner of the 1300m Da Vinci 3&4YO BM64, but all eyes were on champion jockey James McDonald who fell at the start.
Godolphin’s $1.70 favorite Razors appeared to blunder after jumping, sending McDonald into the turf, the champion jockey suffering a foot injury and being stood down for the rest of the meeting.
Kris Lees looked to have another race in the bag when Memoria ($5) kicked in the straight, but Nash Rawiller had other ideas, coming from behind to run down the winner and post an easy win on the line.
The four-year-old is putting together a strong resume with two wins and three placings from his nine starts.
Lees had started the day well with a quinella in the first, Blackcomb ($4.20) overhauling stable mate and $3 favorite Oakfield Prince on the line in the 1600m BM64.
The five-year-old daughter of Vancouver, having her first start for the stable, came from behind in the straight in a well-timed ride by Dylan Gibbons, the first leg of a winning double.
It was no surprise for trainer Brett Lazzarini when his gelding Bonus Tempus beat some of the more favored runners in the 1350m 4YO & Up Maiden.
The Impending four-year-old appreciated a step up in distance and Lazzarini believes there’s more improvement to come.
“He still wants more ground, but I thought he could be there when the whips were cracking today,” he said.
Brad Widdup was thrilled with the win of his consistent mare Jedibeel ($2.80fav) who was given a super, rails run by Jean Van Overmeire to win the 1100m Class 1.
Widdup said Van Overmeire had defied his one instruction.
“I told him not to go to the fence and he did,” Widdup laughed. “It worked out that way and he had too, but he got the job done. She’s still learning.
“She’s run against a couple smart horses where she’s done a lot wrong. Today she did a lot right and it was a terrific effort.”
Runner up The King ($4) will have plenty of improvement to come, while Los Padres ($16) put in an eye-catching run for third.
Keagan Latham brought up a double in the last riding Michael Freedman’s $2.10 favorite Flying Destiny to victory.
Darby Racing’s Flying Artie four-year-old made it back-to-back wins after a last start victory at Hawkesbury.
A third placing to Tyler Schiller saw him draw equal with Adam Hyeronimus to tie for the Nathan Berry Shield. Tommy Berry and his family were on track to present the prestigious shield.