A slashing finish by five-year-old gelding Dr Demon was not only what the doctor ordered in boosting the spirits of Taree trainer Bob Milligan and fellow owner Dr Peter Braude but also dented somewhat some Country Championship ambitions of the beaten brigade at Manning Valley Race Club's TAB meeting at Taree on Monday.
Milligan's son, Glen, said his father in watching the race from home "was very happy" whereas Dr Braude was "over the moon, smiling from ear to ear."
The two form a long bond with racehorses and when Bob was badly injured in a mishap with one more than a year ago, it was Dr Braude who has tended him post hospital treatment.
"It has been a good day...a real nice day," Glen said.
His galloper Hold All Tickets ($26) ran second to Wyong four-year-old gelding Admit It ($2.80), trained by Alan Denham and ridden by Andrew Gibbons, in one of two wins for him, in the Horsepower Class 2 Handicap over 1300m, another race which may have had championship aspirants engaged.
Ironically, Dr Demon's previous win over 1200m in the heavy at Port Macquarie on August 18 had consistent Hold All Tickets running second.
On Monday, Dr Demon (backed from $19 to $10), one of two winners for Taree jockey Matt Bennett, scored by more than a length in the TAB.Com.Au Class 3 Handicap over 1000m on the upgraded soft track.
Coffs Harbour championship hope, four-year-old gelding Pace Stick trained by Brett Dodson, was given permission from stewards to race with cover but in the run home the $2.10 favourite could only finish fourth.
Glen Milligan thought his father bought Dr Demon for around $4000 at the Dubbo Yearling Sales, the gelding posting its fourth win at start 24 and taking its prizemoney towards $60,000.
"I thought it would get its legs run off over 1000m but obviously it has developed and strengthened up.
"Matt stayed out of trouble and that made the difference," he said.
Admit It was trained by Graham "Farmer" Brown at Warwick Farm but when he got ill after the gelding scored two wins and had two placings from seven starts, it was transferred to Denham who had the galloper ready to win fist-up.
Gibbons said "things panned out perfect in the run."
"Al gave me a good push about its chances and in the run I took a risk and rode for luck."
His other win was on three-year-old filly Honored Vow ($4) by 1.25 lengths for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees in the Professionals Harrington Maiden over 1600m.
"She is happy to roll along and keeps grinding to the line.
"She will be a 1800m to 2000m horse later on," he said.
Bennett's other win was on five-year-old Kempsey mare Gwennybegg ($4.60), trained by Barry Ratcliff, in the XXXX Gold Class 2 Handicap over 1600m.
The mare backed up from a fourth at Port Macquarie on Friday and in leading all the way Bennett said:"At the top of the straight I hadn't pushed the button", she scoring by just under a length.
Port trainer John Sprague kept his good strike rate going with four-year-old gelding Bilbao ($5.50) leading all the way for a 2.5 lengths win in the Saxbys Soft Drinks Maiden Handicap over 1000m.
The galloper was only having its fifth run for Sprague after being trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
Three-year-old filly Linguee lived up to her $1.40 quote to score by just under a length for Wyong trainer Kim Waugh and Serg Lisnyy in the Jim's Building Inspection Maiden Plate over 1250m.