With the fire-stricken East Gippsland town of Buchan hosting its annual cup day this weekend, it was fitting that the Graham Donaldson-trained Buchan Hoaks ($4) would break his maiden at Wodonga last Friday.
The victory was the trainer’s first since 2014 and came courtesy of an astute front-running ride from Jason Baldock, who didn’t give rivals a chance.
Buchan Hoaks, a four-year-old Turffontein gelding, had run third 10 days prior at Benalla.
“He’s had nine starts now and I think he should have won about three of them,” Donaldson said post-race.
Baldock has ridden the gelding in six of his starts including his three previous placings.
“I got past the 500 metres and made them chase me,” he said.
“He’s been around the money and was due for that win so credit to the stable for keeping him up because he’s got his quirks.”
Buchan Hoaks, from the unraced Manner Hill dam My Hoaks, was bred and is owned in the Buchan district.
Donaldson has trained other progeny from the dam while Cranbourne-based Shawn Mathrick trained half-sister My Naughty Hoaks to $92,706 in prizemoney and five victories.
Mount breaks maiden
Not many trainers are travelling better than Bendigo’s Josh Julius, whose last 15 starters have yielded five winners and two placegetters.
Last Saturday at bet365 Yarra Valley it was Mount Mitty’s turn to add his name to the winners list.
At just his third start and coming off a first-up third at Terang three weeks earlier, the three-year-old to break his maiden courtesy of a box-seat Clayton Douglas ride at odds of $4.80.
Julius is running at a 15-percent strike-rate for the season and recently had Rhythmic Queen finish second in the Hanging Rock Cup.
That mare is down to race again this weekend.
Mount Mitty is by Statue of Liberty from the Fasliyev mare Gemmas Joy, who won one of her three starts.
Mount Mitty has earned $15,065.
No Lightning for Leonidas
Despite having nominated Miss Leonidas for Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning, Shaun Dwyer will stick to his original plan and run the mare in Saturday week’s Oakleigh Plate.
The reigning Bendigo Horse of the Year finish 11th to Jungle Edge first up in the Adams Stakes, with a post-race vet check revealing the mare to have the thumps and a slow recovery rate. A post-race endoscopy detected mucus.
In other news, Shane Fliedner will drop handy galloper Hi Stranger right back in class on Friday night and tackle a benchmark 64 event in the search for the gelding’s second win.
Fish all the way
Sutton Grange trainer Brent Stanley notched his second long-priced city winner in less than a month when Lucky Fish ($18) led all the way in benchmark 72 company over 1250 metres at Morphettville Parks last Saturday.
The Exceed And Excel seven-year-old had been well beaten at his three Victorian starts this campaign at prices of $41 and up, but made all the running in Adelaide under local hoop Jake Toeroek and hung on to win narrowly.
Stanley’s previous winner was Donndubhan ($15) at Flemington on January 18.
Get up for the cup
Saturday will see the running of one of Bendigo’s most popular meetings, Bendigo Ford Marong Cup day. The event is always well attended by families as it raises funds for Catholic schools in the local community.
The eight-race program will be highlighted by the $25,000 Bendigo Ford Marong Cup (2200m), last year taken out by the Danielle Loos-trained Anemoi.
General admission tickets are $15. Some dining packages remain and can be purchased at www.country.racing.com/bendigo
Meanwhile the $500,000 raceday stalls upgrade is on track to be completed by Golden Mile day on March 28.