THE Wodonga Gold Cup is set to stay in the country after Michael Roebuck-trained gelding Bel Burgess took out the feature event.
After finding the front very easily under jockey Damien Thornton, the $10.30 outsider at Crownbet was never headed. A strong kick at the top of the straight ensured the horse held off a late fight from Hot Ruby ($3.70 at William Hill) and Strike Force ($1.70 at Sportsbet).
Roebuck said the win had a full circle feel to it after bringing the five-year-old to Wodonga early in its career.
“Very pleasing,” Roebuck told HorseBetting.com.au.
“We actually brought him here at his fifth start for a 2000m maiden as a $1.90 favourite and he didn’t run in the first three so I didn’t think I’d be bringing him back here.
“He’s matured since then, he’s a good miler, he’s got a good mile record and he finished a length and a half of Burning Front as his last start over a mile and a half so we knew he was good.
“As a young trainer you want to win races like this, I’m wrapped for the owners and it was a good result.”
Roebuck said jockey Damian Thorton had a direct instruction heading into the feature race.
“It was pretty straight-forward, head straight to the front and make it pretty hard for them to run him down.
“He likes to roll out in front and once he got around the bend he gave a good kick around the corner and was good enough to win.”
The major disappointment of the race was the $1.80 favourite Linguist, which made a three-wide early move and never properly got into the race.
Having dominated at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, it wilted badly in the straight and failed to make the first four.
Roebuck said he did not think Linguist would mount a challenge to his elect after a difficult run in transit.
“I was pretty confident on the bend because my guy was on the bridle for a far way into the home straight,” he said.
“I knew he’d go pretty well with a long sustained run home and it was a good win.”
The future looks like it could be a bright one for the son of Bel Esprit, which looks set to again compete in the VOBIS Gold Mile where it ran second to Burning Front to earlier in the year.
“Not too sure,” the trainer said when asked what the future holds.
“He’s just come back from joint surgery so I don’t want to run him too much on hard tracks, but the ultimate goal will be the $250,000 race which he ran second to Burning Front in at Caulfield.
“That’s next year and should be a soft track, so that will be more suitable.”