Slow starts and bad luck have dogged the Kim Waugh-trained Trumbull this campaign, but all that changed on Saturday when the four-year-old took out the listed $150,000, Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill.
With Tommy Berry in the saddle, Trumbull ($6) jumped on terms, settled in the box seat and, when pulled out to make his run at the 200 metres, finished strongly to defeat Order Again by a length, with Dealmaker third.
“Finally. We’ve had such a frustrating run with him this whole preparation,” Wyong-based Waugh said after the win.
“He’s a beautiful quiet horse but he’s been developing this silly habit of missing the start. We’ve given him some barrier practice at home.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this horse. He’s done my head in at times so it’s a big thrill when we get a good result like this.
“Once he was there in a good position early, I was confident but I wasn’t saying a word. I didn’t want to get too cocky.
“This will be a real confidence-booster for the horse. He really deserves this because he keeps backing up every start and has just needed a bit of luck to go his way for a change.”
Saturday’s success took Trumbull’s record to six wins from 18 starts and was his first win at stakes level.
The gelding will now be set for the listed $200,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton next Wednesday (July 8).
“I’ve never had a Ramornie runner before so if he pulls up well that’s where he is going,” said Waugh.
Another eyeing off the Grafton carnival is Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, after his Frankel mare Frankely Awesome won last Saturday’s listed W.J. McKell Cup (2000m) at Rosehill.
The mare had shown promise as a three-year-old, twice placing at Group 1 level before going amiss in the ATC Oaks and being sidelined for a year.
“This was really pleasing because a lot of money has been put into this mare, being she’s by Frankel,” Lees said.
“She looked like being a very good three-year-old but went amiss and it’s taken a while to get her back to this grade.
“I started to question it after seeing where she was at when I got her back into work but the team has done a very good job.
“She won’t be spelling. We’ll consider the Grafton Cup.”
Winning jockey Jason Collett settled his mount midfield on the fence before taking her to the middle of the track in the straight to make her run.
Frankely Awesome ($14-$10) then finished strongly to take the lead 50 metres out, defeating stablemate Sixties Groove by three-quarters of a length with Carzoff a nose away in third.
Like Waugh, Lees is also likely to have a starter in the Ramornie after his galloper Graff trialled impressively at Deagon last week.
“That’s the way Kris will probably go but we do have the option of the Eye Liner (1350m) at Ipswich two weeks later,” said stable spokesman Mel Eggleston.
Rivals taste wrath of Roth
Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn claimed yet another TAB Highway Handicap when Rothenburg, ridden by James McDonald, took out last Saturday’s Rosehill edition of the series, a 1400-metre Class 2.
McDonald settled his mount fifth on the rails and kept to the fence in the straight, waiting for the gap to come.
When it did, Rothenburg ($7) dashed through to hit the front and score by 1¾ lengths from the fast-finishing Cloud Factory with Amirykal third.
“We’ve always had quite a big opinion of this horse,” said stable rep Keira Dunn after the win.
“He’s been to town and run in strong races so there’s bigger and better things ahead. It’s nice to see him get one back on the board.”
Rothenburg’s only previous win was in a Gold Coast maiden in May 2019. He’s had 14 starts.
Current NSW jockeys premiership leader Blaike McDougall had his season ended abruptly when stewards hit him with a six-week ban at Hawkesbury last Tuesday.
McDougall received two suspensions, the first for careless riding aboard Calbuco in the maiden plate and the second for having unauthorised riding boots.
McDougal initially denied the boots were his but later admitted to owning them.
McDougall was fined $500 and will be sidelined until August 21.
At Moruya last Friday, the 1300-metre Town Plate was won by Caccini ($17), ridden by Mathew Cahill and trained by Norm Gardner, while the Narooma Cup (1640m) saw local galloper Whisky’n’Diamonds ($12), trained by Greg Backhouse and ridden by apprentice Amy McLucas, score a comfortable win over Roseirro with Gunga Din third.
At Newcastle on Saturday, training partners Richard and Michael Freedman brought up their 15th winner from 31 starters in June when Irish import Alakahan, ridden by Brandon Griffiths, romped away to a 4½-length win in the 2325-metre Class 1 at the Winx-like odds of $1.30.
He is definitely a horse to follow and a couple of other winners for the black book from the Newcastle meeting are the Les Bridge-trained Madam Legend, who led all the way under Cejay Graham to win the 1400-metre Class 2, and the fillies Saigon and Shaik, who both won maidens.
In the final race at Gundagai last Saturday, iron horse Benno’s Boy scored his 17th win at start number 163.
The Grafton carnival is the country highlight of the coming week and local horseman Billy “The Strapper” White has suggested two horses to follow over the four days — Divine Approach and Tarbert.
Nyngan is the venue for picnic racing this Saturday, with the Nyngan Picnic Cup (1250m) the feature. On Sunday the feature race at Grafton will be the 1600-metre South Grafton Quality Cup, while on the same day at Mudgee the XXXX Cup (1400m) will be the main race.