The “King” of riding at the Wauchope race track, Peter Graham, gave 91-year- old owner Doug James and Port Macquarie trainer Gloria Parker victory, among three, in the $9000 Hastings Co-op Woop Woop Cup on Boxing Day.
“It is a mighty thrill for Dougie and me,” Gloria Parker said of the four-length win by eight-year- old mare Queen Of The Grange ($2.60 to $2.20) over the 1800m journey.
It was the second win at the track for the duo—the mare winning there two years ago.
“It was four weeks since she raced and she was stepping up in distance (her best previous win being over 1500m),” said Parker who was so excited by the win, mostly for James who has trouble walking these days but was trackside for the win and cup presentation.
“We have done it”—she exclaimed, even though noting that both hind legs of the mare were heavily bandaged as a precaution against hitting herself.
Graham can’t remember how many Woop Woop Cups he has won, but it is many, and he did it by keeping the mare mid-field before making his run wide out on the heavy 8-rated track.
Chief steward Drew Smith started the meeting early and allowed 30 minutes between races due to the threat of thunder storms but the five races were run without a drop of rain falling.
Kempsey gelding Rush Of Blood ($4.40), trained by Tony Green, was second, a length in front of Taree gelding Prince Coureuse ($3.40).
Last year’s winner, Wauchope’s Xerxes Dream was fourth but was laden with 7kgs more than it was going to carry because the apprentice never made it trackside when her plane was turned back due to the storm and the mount was taken by Robert Agnew who was called to the track by stewards.
Xerxes Dream’s trainer, Michael O’Neill, had better luck with Graham who rode his five-year- old gelding Stoddart ($2) to a half-head win in the M & S Print Benchmark 49 Handicap over 1240m.
“That gave us a bit of Christmas money,” O’Neill said.
“The horse is a bit if a thinker and probably now wants blinkers.
“Maybe the win will switch him on.”
Graham’s other win by just under a length was on four-year- old gelding Eight Field ($2), trained at Port by Tas Morton, in the Wauchope Real Estate Agents Maiden Plate over 1240m.
Strapper Jessica McCusker said the addition of blinkers sparked the gelding up as he had bad barrier issues.
The gelding won despite Graham dropping his whip about 250m from the winning post.
A head was the winning verdict for Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester”s seven-year-old gelding Lasszou ($2.10 to $1.80), ridden by his apprentice jockey, 19-year- old Lexi McPherson in the Wauchope Stocks and Estate Agents Benchmark 53 Handicap over 1000m.
The other winner, much to the joy of Taree trainer Karen Owen and some friends from Sydney, was six-year- old mare Caught The Katy ($2.20), ridden by apprentice Chloe Baker, in the Bing Maxwell Colin Maxwell Memorial Plate over 1650m.
It was the trainer’s first win at the track and her second in her career, the other being Locomotive Breath at Bowraville two year ago.