SOME big names associated with Melbourne Cups had a go at training six-year-old gelding Condover Hall but it is Port Macquarie trainer Neil Godbolt who won with the galloper at Taree on Tuesday and maybe is eyeing a different cup.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne, since outed top Victorian trainer Darren Weir and Mitchell Freedman from the cup winning dynasty all tried their hand at mentoring the Mastercraftsman (IRE) gelding out of Condover (NZ).
Payne had two placings from eight starts, Weir grabbed a win from three goes and Freedman managed a placing from five starts.
Godbolt and his wife, Maxine, owners of Condover Hall ($3.90), live in anticipation of what will happen next after the gelding had a solid just over a length win in the TAB.Com.Au Handicap over 1600m.
It was the galloper's 24th start for them but three wins and nine placings, six of them at its previous six starts, had the trainer saying: "He (the horse) is one of the good stories of racing...he has more than paid for himself.
"He is very honest and has done a good job for me."
So what's next?
All going well, Condover Hall will tackle the $32,000 Port Macquarie Cup Prelude over 1800m on September 27 at Port...and who knows, the $200,000 Port Macquarie Cup over 2000m would be a dream.
And helping along the way has been local jockey Jeff Kehoe who has been part of the story so far.
He had Condover Hall travelling beautifully in second or leading and beat Port's Lucky For Some, trained by John Sprague, with Taree's hope Senatorial ($5 to $3) beaten 2.75 lengths into fourth.
Top apprentice jockey Louise Day may have lost her allowance in the country but she hasn't lost her zest for winning in steering Newcastle trainer Kris Lees' three-year-old gelding Vanbari ($3.40) to a 2.4 lengths win in the Eddies Fresh Chickens Plate over 1600m at its second start.
Another Newcastle trainer Brett Partelle and jockey Ben El-Issa combined to have Skye Banner ($8) up with the leaders for a just under a length win in the Mid Coast Automotive Group Maiden 1000m.
Partelle reckoned the former fiery galloper with four white socks and white blaze was 12 months off from showing its best.
Wauchope trainer Grant Prosser grabbed his second win from seven starts with five-year-old gelding Grated Coconut ($13), ridden by Raymond Spokes, scoring by a nose from Port's Deep Dream ($15), trained by Allan Kehoe and ridden by Ben Looker, in the Krambach Cup 16 Oct.Handicap over 1000m.
Prosser said the monster of a galloper was a "boofhead" to train but has ability.
Three-year-old filly Chase My Crown ($14), trained at Taree by Wayne Wilkes and ridden by apprentice Kyle Wilson-Taylor made up for a unlucky sixth at its first start to score wide out by a nose in the Stacks Law Firm Handicap over 1300m.
Wyong's Toguchi ($4.40), trained by Kim Waugh was second from the unlucky Taree gelding Four Egos ($7.50 to $3.40), trained on the track by Ross Stitt, it being posted four-wide for most of the journey.
Five-year-old gelding Dicko's Mate landed some good bets in leading all the way in the Overseas Viewers Handicap over 1400m.
The gelding ($50 to $15) was having only its second start for Hawkesbury trainer Jacqueline Greentree and was ridden a confident race by Grant Buckley to score by just over one length.
Kyle Wilson Taylor notched his second win of the meeting for his master Brett Dodson on last start winner,five-year-old mare Blevic ($17),by a quarter of a length after being second early in the Horsepower Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1250m.
Horses on the speed were favoured on the good-rated track, Manning Valley Race Club's next meeting being on October 16.