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3 March, 2022

Racing review: Mudgee raced February 27

Qualifying two horses, Zoo Station and Tags, for the $500,000 final of the Newhaven Park Country Championship at Royal Randwick in April, is a fitting reward for the dedication and professionalism of Bathurst trainer Gayna Williams.

By Supplied

A long time successful trainer, Williams has played a prominent role over several years in Central Districts Championship Qualifiers however it was hard to match the excitement of the thrilling finish on Sunday at Mudgee as a big field of well credentialed runners vied for a share of the $150,000 prizemoney.

Away quickly from the outside barrier in the 1400 metres feature event, Lockdown Gamble led from Dubbo Wanderer, El Mo, and The Drover with Zoo Station settling further back than midfield and Tags in last position after missing the start by five lengths.

Brilliantly ridden by Tony Cavallo, Zoo Station ($2.70, favourite) burst through a gap halfway down the straight to hit the lead and in a driving finish held on to win by a neck from stablemate Tags (Reece Jones, $5.50).

The David Smith, Mudgee-trained Lockdown Gamble (Mathew Cahill, $4.80) was a head away third in a game performance after setting the pace while How’s It Kev (Mikayla Weir, $26) from the Alison Smith stable at Orange was handy throughout and stuck on well for fourth.

Continuing to emerge as a genuine winning chance in the $150,000 Western Racing Association Country Championship Qualifier at Coonamble this month is the Brett Robb, Dubbo-trained Great Buy.

Following a brave effort when a close second to Lockdown Gamble in the review at Dubbo, Great Buy beat the short price favourite Salire in the 1200 metres Evergreen Turf Showcase Benchmark 66 Handicap at Mudgee.

Taking the lead from Unpredicted when heads turned for home, Great Buy (Jackson Searle, $5.50) safely held off Salire (Hugh Bowman, $1.60 favourite) by one and a half lengths with Ferus (Jean Van Overeire, $21) finishing third. Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker had a winning treble with Akahata (Brandon Lerena, $2.60), Deel With Me (Hugh Bowman, $2.45 favourite) and Da Nang Star (Bailey Wheeler, $2.80 favourite) while Scone trainer Cameron Crockett led in a double, Mistaken Identity ($10) and Cracking Mo ($5.50), both ridden by Brooke Stower.

Cameron Crockett described Brooke Stower as a “greatly underrated jockey” after her all the way win on Cracking Mo and a sensational ride from the back of the field on Mistaken Identity.

Jumping from the outside barrier in a field of 14, Mistaken Identity ($10) raced in last position before Brooke Stower followed the inside rail all the way home to win by threequarters of a length from Whispering Cate (Mikayla Weir, $101) and Jianzhang (Clayton Gallagher, $81) in the 1200 metres S&S Meats Country Only Showcase Maiden Plate. The other winner was the Kris Lees, Newcastle trained Miss Santorini ($21), the first leg of a double for apprentice Bailey Wheeler.

By Colin Hodges

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