Ross Stitt wins Spring Cup at Taree races

Trainer Ross Stitt was all smiles after his win in the Spring Cup with Wollartant at Manning Valley Race Club's Melbourne Cup Day meeting this week.
Trainer Ross Stitt was all smiles after his win in the Spring Cup with Wollartant at Manning Valley Race Club's Melbourne Cup Day meeting this week.

A TAREE horse racing double to savour—Wingham’s former resident Corey Brown winning the Melbourne Cup and hometown trainer Ross Stitt triumphant in the Spring Cup!

The big crowd at Taree was treated to the double celebration within half an hour of one another at Manning Valley Race Club’s Melbourne Cup day meeting on Tuesday.

Brown no sooner won with Rekindling in Melbourne (he also having won the Melbourne Cup on Shocking in 2009) that Stitt’s Wollartant ($4.20), ridden by Taree jockey Scott Thurlow, scored by 1.5 lengths in the Prime 7 News Spring Cup over 1624m.

Race club chairman Greg Coleman had great delight in paying tribute to Brown’s win, the jockey having a function centre named in his honour trackside, while congratulating Stitt and connections of the nine-year-old gelding Wollartant which may have had its last race.

Coleman reminded patrons that Brown started his jockey career at Taree when aged 16.

Overnight rain led to a soft track and this,along with the addition of blinkers, resulted in a return to form for Wollartant.

Many of the top hopes, one being Wyong’s Mosaytion in the Spring Cup, were scratched and the meeting was notable for a few surprise wins.

Wollartant’s Mudgee owner Terry Marskell wasn’t trackside but he heard the win via Stitt and his mobile phone listening in to Murray Nelson’s broadcast of the race.

The trainer was relieved to get the win as he said the gelding had lost a lot of form and “that could be its last run.”

Marskell sent the galloper to Stitt, who registered his third win with Wollartant, about a year ago when there were few suitable races out west for the gelding.

Thurlow said he had “a beautiful run” behind Tuncurry gelding Svavarsson, which finished second for trainer Terry Evans, and the soft track helped.

It was a good meeting for Taree trainers, one of them being Cecilia Reid who had her first win this season with four-year-old mare Stanzza ($5.50) which grabbed a half-head win on the line for jockey Ben Looker in the Saxbys Soft Drinks Maiden Plate over 1320m.

She said the prizemoney more than compensated her for getting the mare about three months ago.

Three-year-old filly One Sunday ($11) was given a beautiful run in front by Port Macquarie apprentice jockey Cejay Graham to score by a neck for local trainer Bob Milligan in the Manning Mall Maiden Plate over 1624m.

Milligan said the filly was still learning but was up for sale.

Port Macquarie trainer Tas Morton may have been in a Sydney Hospital overcoming heart trouble but that didn’t stop fellow trainer John Sprague from giving him coverage of the race over the phone to hear four-year-old gelding O’Driscoll ($3.60). ridden by Graham, score easily for him in the Stacks Law Firm Class 1 Handicap over 1320m.

Taree gelding Prince Coureuse ($13) notched its third win at start 61 for trainer-part owner Tess Wilkes in the Mid Coast Automotive Group Benchmark 46 Handicap over 1420m.

It gave Cessnock apprentice Alexis McPherson her first win at her fourth ride on her first day of race riding after only qualifying to do so in the last week.