Local gelding Alot Like Home ($6 to $4) stamped himself as a promising gelding in leading all the way in the Wingham Beef Exports Cup over 1257m at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Monday.
It was the four-year-old’s second win in a row for breeder, part-owner and now trainer Steven Fell and its fourth on end in country races.
“I am over the moon…lovely to watch,” Fell said of his gelding by his former sire Home On The Grange.
He renewed his trainer’s licence just before Alot Like Home resumed from an eight month spell and guided the gelding to a solid win at Scone.
His mother, Adelle Glasson said the galloper was diagnosed as being a wind sucker and was successfully operated on in Sydney during the spell.
Jockey Josh Oliver bounded clear on the gelding at barrier rise and then led the field a merry chase, second going to Newcastle gelding and $2.7 favourite Sausalito from the Paul Perry stable, a length in front of resuming Gosford gelding Duke ($4.20), trained by Angela Davies.
Oliver said Alot Like Home got to the lead easy and when turning for home gave him “a great feeling”.
Chris Black, representing the cup sponsors, congratulated connections and said his firm was proud to be associated with its fourth cup.
The only other local trainer to have a win was Bob Milligan with resuming four-year-old mare Valbeata ($4.80), given a rails-hugging ride by jockey Paul King in the Mid Coast Bearings Class 3 Handicap over 1007m.
It was her 12th start for four wins and three seconds and the capable mare may be aimed towards the country qualifying heat for the final at The Championships held at Port Macquarie on February 18.
King settled the mare a couple of lengths rearward at the start while the field up front vied for the lead in a bunch.
He then managed to get a rails run to scoot inside and win by a head from Taree’s Demoralising, trained by Matthew Robinson, a length covering the first five runners in a gripping finish.
“That’s the shortest way home,” Milligan said with a smile of satisfaction in having the mare firing again after an eight month spell.
“The pace was genuine and I then got an unbelievable run through,” King said.
Another highlight, becoming a regular one, was Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ winning treble from four starters.
He kicked off with three-year-old gelding Bochy ($1.65), ridden by Aaron Bullock, scoring by 2.15 lengths in the Hillard & Berry Solicitors Benchmark 59 Handicap over 2018m.
Stable foreman Chris Hull said the win was “a big effort” for the gelding as it was up in distance and weight and may be “a nice horse next preparation.”
Bullock and Lees again combined with first-starter three-year-old gelding Furore ($1.90) which scored by a long neck from Taree trainer Wayne Wilkes’ Subtle Grey in the Cellsera Maiden Plate over 1257m.
Four-year-old mare I Am Awesome ($2.15) made it two wins in a row at the track for Lees and apprentice jockey Louise Day with an impressive two-lengths margin in the Hepworths Industrial Wear Class 1 & Maiden Plate over 1614m.
“A big win as the mare was three and four deep most of the way,” Hull said..
Other winners were first-starter Happy Mo ($7.50), trained at Newcastle by Andrew MacDonald and ridden by Matthew Paget in the Sealed Air Maiden Handicap over 1007m and the well-backed Wyong gelding Jexerlent ($5.50 to $3.30) , trained by Brian Garvey and ridden by Chris O’Brien in the WRS Orora Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1312m.
Racing returns to Bushland Drive Racecourse on January 23 for a TAB meeting conducted by Manning Valley Race Club.