Yet another Carlton Wyong Gold Cup victory for Chris Waller, who took his recent success in the Listed race to a new level, training the first four.
The win by English import Durston, gave Waller his eighth Wyong Cup since 2010.
The victory was also James McDonald’s third in the prestigious race, the champion hoop almost claiming the feature double after a narrow defeat in the Wyong Leagues Group Mona Lisa.
Aboard the Godolphin trained favourite Katlin, McDonald looked to have the race won, before Matt Dale’s Meg flew down the outside to win by a nose.
McDonald went home with a double, winning on the O’Shea trained Kokoro, giving him enough points to secure the coveted Nathan Berry Shield, for the best rider over the two days.
The locals weren’t left out with both Damien Lane and Kristen Buchanan training winners.
McDonald gave Durston a peach of a ride in the $200,000 Listed Carlton Wyong Gold Cup, placing him conservatively in the early stages, before taking off around the 650m mark.
He weaved a passage to the outside on the seven-year-old, hitting the front in the straight and drawing away to win by almost two lengths.
It was the biggest career win for Durston from his 13 starts, having switched to the Waller stable for his previous two runs.
He was disappointing finishing last in the Group 3 Premiers Cup on August 20 but atoned for the loss with a dominant Cup win.
Stable foreman Damien Fitton gave plenty of praise to McDonald.
“It was a great ride by James. He went back to rear of the field and let him switch off. He dropped his head for the first time since we’ve had him and that told the tale in the finish. He was able to conserve some energy,” Fitton said.
“It was a winning move when he made the run when he did. It’s just onward and upwards for this horse now.”
Fitton said he believed the addition of a Norton bit to Durston had made a huge difference to his racing style.
“He’s a good horse but has been racing a bit fiercely in first two starts for us. A Norton bit on today was the ultimate gear change and made big difference.
“He did a lot wrong last start but got the miles in his legs and that enabled him to run a strong 2100m today.”
Yi Yi ($6) was runner-up, from stablemate Our Intrigue ($16).
McDonald didn’t have the same luck on $2.70 favourite Katalin in the $160,000 Listed WYONG LEAGUES GROUP MONA LISA STAKES and after being caught wide, was run down on the line by Meg ($31).
McDonald and Hugh Bowman fought it out in the final stages, with last start Randwick winner Meg, overcoming a wide barrier to snatch victory.
An ecstatic Matt Dale was thrilled with the efforts of his Sebring filly and Bowman.
“It was a perfect ride,” Dale said. “Momentum out wide seemed to be the key as the day went on and I thought the wide barrier was an advantage, not a disadvantage.
“Hughie was confident. He was really happy with her win at Randwick the other day, after watching the replay, and he went out there with confidence. I thought she could run second or third, but she ran out of her skin to win on the line.
“It’s very rewarding – a great ride and a great team effort by the team at home. She still hasn’t cleaned right up in the coat yet so there is still a little bit more to come.
“She looks to be a Group style mare over 1600m, so there are plenty of those options to come. It’s great to get the black type and my wife owns half so that’s even better.”
Damien Lane’s Wealthy Investor was able to hold out the late challengers to take out the 1200m PBL LAW GROUP MAIDEN, the first of winning double for locals.
The Capitalist colt was resuming from a spell, having been unplaced in Group company in his three starts last preparation.
Lane had been confident he would race well, and he didn’t disappoint, bringing up his first win at start seven.
“He’s a lovely horse with a good future,” Lane said. “It’s good to get a win on board. We tested him out in some quality races last preparation, and I still think he is up to that grade. We will see the best of him as he stretches out in trip.”
Wealthy Investor earned strong support to start $4.20 second favourite. He beat the fast-finishing Poetic Drama ($20) from the Hawkes stable, with Gary Nickson’s One Destiny ($7) third. A win won’t be far off for both minor placegetters.
Kristen Buchanan was in the winner’s circle in the last race of the day, the DOYLO SPRINGTIME BM68, after her talented four-year-old Oakfield Duke ($2.80fav) brought up his fourth successive win.
Buchanan had given the Into Mischief gelding a freshen up leading into the race and it worked a charm, with Aaron Bullock bringing him to the centre of the track on straightening and drawing away to win.
“He loves winning,” Buchanan said after the race. “That’s a massive attribute and he’s very, very genuine. He’s obviously got the ability as well, but he loves getting to the line.”
Buchanan said she would consider the Four Pillars as an option for Oakfield Duke.
“I think he’s a really exciting prospect going forward.”
It was James McDonald at his best in the BISHOP COLLINS CHARTERED ACCOUNTS BM64 with the gun jockey giving Kokoro ($4.80) a super ride to secure his third career win.
John O’Shea’s Real Impact gelding came from the rear of the field before the turn in the 1600m race, catching his rivals napping.
He hit the front on straightening and from then the win was never in doubt, the four-year-old drawing away in the final stages to post a three and a half-length length victory.
“He got it really soft in the first half of the race, “McDonald said. “I was impressed, he sustained the speed and appreciated the firm ground. The better track conditions have been a big improvement for him and he’s ready to go back to town now.”
A one act affair in the 1100m HUNTER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS CLASS 1 saw Clarry Connors’ promising Choisir filly Cholante blitz her rivals.
The three-year-old showed a great turn of foot to speed away in the straight and score by almost two lengths.
Jockey Willie Pike was full of praise for the winner.
“She has a great turn of foot. She’s taken the next step today, she was too good for them,” Pike said.
Connors agreed the filly had gone to another level.
“She just keeps surprising me. When we realised we had to ride her back off the pace she was a different filly. When she sees daylight, she’s a bullet, she just flies.”
A $45,000 Magic Millions yearling, Cholante ($2.35fav) beat Tocomah ($9.50), from the Frazer stable, with Transformation ($10) trained by Melanie O’Gorman, third.
Former jockey Jim Cassidy was “over the moon” after his gelding Notabadsuspect took out the 1350m STONE REAL ESTATE WYONG 4YO&UP MAIDEN.
The four-year-old, an American import trained by Greg and Jim Lee, brought up his first win with Glyn Schofield in the saddle.
“It’s a great thrill. I’ve won a Wyong Cup, a number of races here but to be an owner, it’s fantastic,” an excited Cassidy said. “It’s a team effort, I’m delighted.”
Notabadsuspect ($9), beat the Joe Pride trained Diva Diva ($8) with Lidia ($11) from the Coyle stable third.
Bjorn Baker’s Cinque Torri was too strong in the CENTRAL COAST COOLROOMS DA VINCE – 3YO & 4YO BM64(1300m), courtesy of a patient ride by Dylan Gibbons.
The son of I Am Invincible was coming off a sixth at Hawkesbury on August 18, after winning at Muswellbrook over 1280m the previous start.
Glen Lobb, representing the Baker stable, said Cinque Torri had always shown a bit of ability.
“He’s a bit funny with different things. He doesn’t like getting crowded and had everything go his way today. The winkers made a difference and I’d say they’ll stay one.
The winner a $170,000 Magic Millions yearling, beat the Waller trained I Am Geronimo ($3.20fav), with Marc Conners’ Starstruck Barbie ($9) third.