ONE of the biggest crowds in many years gathered in warm and sunny conditions at the Bombala Racecourse on Saturday to enjoy country racing at its best.
In the feature event, the $12,000 Dongwha Timbers Bombala Cup, it was the Rado Boljun trained Outside who was successful.
Ridden by Kevin Sweeney, Outside beat his rivals out of the gates, but the experienced Sweeney allowed Casanova from gate five to take the early lead with Trescorpioni also going forward.
As they climbed the hill, Trescorpioni took the lead from Casanova, whilst Sweeney on Outside remained midfield on the rail until allowing his mount to press forward to catch the leaders just before entering the straight.
In the final two hundred metres, Outside rounded up Trescorpioni to win with ease by 1 ½ lengths. Trescorponio battled on well for second placing and Back to Zero, last year’s Bombala Cup winner trained by Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones, finished third, a head margin behind. Sebony, now a nine year old, a prolific winner of local cup races, including the 2010 Bombala Cup, finished a close up forth.
Rado Boljun trains the winner in Canberra for his daughter Mary. In his acceptance speech, Rado thanked the veteran Sweeney for his “perfect ride” and comically encouraged him to have more of them.
Race 1 on Saturday was The Merimbula Lake Oysters, Veisto/Tui, Landmark Maiden Hcp over 900 metres. Canberra trainer Gratz Vella started off the day well when Bay Moon, a mare he trains for himself, took out the event.
Starting as the $1.80 favourite and ridden by Kayla Cross, Bay Moon had a long head margin to spare on the line from Lady Zizou with the Sapphire Coast trained Yambulla a ½ neck behind in third placing.
The second place-getter is from the Joseph and Jones yard whilst Yambulla is trained by Grant Bobbin for local identities Norm and Wendy Wilton.
The RSL Club, West End Estate Wines, Schute Bell Benchmark 45 Hcp was Race 2 and saw nine runners line up for the 1000 metre dash.
In a very keenly contested event, which saw Smooth Honours and Rapacount start as $4.40 equal favourites, it was a Victorian visitor Ballydoyle ($7.50), ridden by Lachlan Pillar, who prevailed.
Smooth Honours, trained in Canberra by Trevor McIlrick was second, a length margin in arrears, with 1 ½ lengths back to Tee Off Tiger in third.
Starting from the outside barrier on Saturday, it was a great effort by the Bob Triplow Bairnsdale trained Ballydoyle who had been beaten by a short head margin when running second in the same event last year.
Race 3 was the Wilton Logging P/L, Village Ford, Women in Racing Maiden Plate over 1200 metres and saw six runners head to the barriers.
After winning the first event with Bay Moon, Gratz Vella saddled up Double Night and put aboard Lachlan Pillar in an effort to win with the stockily built grey gelding he trains for himself along with Jim and Norm Munro.
As the race unfolded, Michael Travers took the Joseph and Jones trained Because We All Can to the lead with King Mini peeling to his outside to challenge.
However, as they rounded the bend, Because We Can took charge of the rider and headed towards the outside fence with the consequence being that both she and King Mini became uncompetitive.
In the meantime, Double Night kept his mind on the job to race away and score by a convincing 5 ¾ lengths from Tantangara with a further 3 ½ lengths back to Brengun Bruce.
The win notched up a winning double for Vella and also Pillar. Having only her third lifetime start, Tantangara pleased trainer Shannon Byrne from Jindabyne with her progress whilst Julia Ceely from Queanbeyan was also happy with the performance of Brengun Bruce.
The last race on the day, the Murphy’s Transport & Building Supplies, Beca Amec, Monaro Wool Benchmark 45 Hcp, had a field of nine runners.
Quite Venom, started as the $4.00 favourite however, after suffering early interference, was left rearwards as Drama Lodge led the field up the hill.
Having a much better ride than in the earlier race where his horse took charge of him, Michael Travers aboard Light Magic ($10) easily caught the leaders before the turn and a win was never in doubt from the 150 metres mark.
Light Magic, trained at Moruya by Greg Backhouse, scored by 3 ¼ lengths from the gutsy Drama Lodge with the Chicka Pearson trained Bimbi Town in third placing.
Shortstay, trained by Georgie Boucher from Jindabyne, and the winner of the same race last year, was making up ground late to finish in forth placing.
Racing in the district continues with the Adaminaby Cup race meeting on November 17, 2012. The feature race will prize-money of $14,000 and the five supporting races will have purses of $6500.
The Cooma Cup and Sundowners Cup, both with prize-money of $12,500, will be held on December 1, 2012.