Two dead heats in one race, a long winning streak coming to an end and a tough mare notching her fifth win for the season were among the highlights on an action-packed weekend of Victorian picnic racing.
Woolamai got the party started on Saturday, Mornington trainer Monica Cid taking the training honours with a double.
Cid has had eight winners for the season at a strike rate of 30 per cent, and following the weekend double-header remained in third place on the premiership behind Don Dwyer and Troy Kilgower.
Her day began disappointingly, however, with the last-place finish of The Mower Man in the 1608-metre maiden won by the Ray Caldwell-trained They Callmemalcom, who broke through at start 25.
Cid’s first winner came in race four, the Yojo Frozen Yoghurt Classic (1008m), when well travelled eight-year-old Peranto ($2.90 favourite) saluted under Grant Seccombe.
Peranto won a couple in New Zealand before being sold to race in NSW, where he won once prior to joining Cid.
He won a Donald 0-58 in August last year and hadn’t been going badly on the TAB circuit prior to his picnic debut on Saturday.
Nine-year-old gelding I’m Peter ($4.60) streeted his rivals by 5½ lengths in the final race of the day to bring up a double for both Cid and jockey Dani Walker, who had earlier steered They Callmemalcolm to his seven-length win.
I’m Peter was scoring his first win since Australia Day 2020 and his seventh in total.
The fifth race at Woolamai saw quite an unusual occurrence with dead-heats for both first and sixth in the nine-horse field.
When the Kellie Hill-trained Copthorne ($2.80 favourite) dashed clear at the top of the straight it looked like he had the race in the bag, but Troy Kilgower’s outsider Spun Dice ($15) launched a late bid to share the spoils.
Copthorne has been in terrific form this season, winning four on end, all at Woolamai over 1008 metres with Jordan Sanders up.
The dead-heat for first was interesting enough, but when the judge looked further back in the field he couldn’t split sixth and seventh either.
Oddly enough, the two to tie for sixth were trained by Kilgower (Warpedo) and Hill’s sister Kasey Wilson (Jocks).
Witness back in form
Leading hoop Shaun Cooper failed to register a win at Woolamai, bringing to an end his streak of 12 consecutive meetings with a winner, but he bounced back with a double including the feature at Yea on Sunday.
Cooper teamed up with Don Dwyer and the 2020/21 money-maker that is the seven-year-old mare Can Get a Witness ($2.60) to claim the Yea St Pat’s Cup (2140m).
Can Get a Witness won four on end under Cooper early in the season, but had performed slightly below par at her two runs subsequent to that streak. She was too strong on Sunday, however, for the Cid-trained Madam Stowell who started the raging $1.55 favourite.
Cooper earlier saluted on Anthony Cosgriff’s maiden galloper Stephen’s Green ($4.80), the Strada gelding breaking through at start 21.
Caitlin King was another jockey to ride a double at Yea. She caused an upset on $8 chance I Fought the Law for Kilmore trainer Annie Goble in race three, then wrapped up the card with victory on the Dwayne Reid-trained Col’s Hero ($3.40).
A nine-year-old son of Kaphero, Col’s Hero was breaking through for his first win since a Devonport synthetic success in August 2019.
Alexandra hosts the action this Saturday.