OAKFIELD Badger broke through for win number one in just his third start at the Taree Gold Cup meeting and what better way to do it than in a TAB Super Maiden Showcase Plate worth $50,000.
The only race that carried more prizemoney on the day was the $100,000 Taree Gold Cup, so the lucrative maiden was a keenly-contested affair as all of these events are.
Four-year-old gelding Oakfield Badger had refused to settle at its previous start, in a 1300-metre maiden at Newcastle on November 4 when ridden by Aaron Bullock. He raced fiercely that day and after contesting the lead for most of the way he dropped out in the straight to finish last of 10.
The change in distance back to 1000 metres allowed him to stride along at the pace he liked and after refusing to give up the early lead to challenger Gulf Of Guinea, he dominated the race from in front with Grant Buckley aboard to win by 1.24 lengths as the $3.80 favourite.
"Lovely ride by 'Bucko' and good to see the horse doing everything he should," trainer Kristen Buchanan said afterwards. "And thank you to Aaron (Bullock), who gave me a very solid rundown after the 1300 the other day and told me to bring him back in trip.
"He's a lovely horse and he's obviously switched on and learnt what racing's about and it's great to get a win for Bruce (Mackenzie, the horse's owner) who's a great supporter of the stable."
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