A big plunge at Echuca racecourse on Monday had a lot of punters with their hearts in their mouths before Weave crossed the line a lip in front of the determined Rakti Roulette to win the $20000 1Print Tour of Victoria Distance Series Heat 8.
The four-year-old Bendigo gelding was sent out the most heavily backed horse in the fifth on the card, its price having been quickly pushed from $8 and better to $4.20 when the starter let them go.
Stable representative Darryn Yates could not explain the enormous support for his horse, but said his past two runs had showed a lot of promise without luck.
‘‘We picked him up unraced at a dispersal sale and liked the look of him, and that he had some very solid distance in his breeding,’’ Yates said.
‘‘After today he has now had two wins for us from 11 starts and this was the first time Craig Robertson has ridden him in a race for us, although he has done some trialling with him.
‘‘Coming up here (on Monday) we were pretty confident that over 2100m he would be pretty hard to beat — and he was.
‘‘And we are just as confident he will do just as well over longer runs, out to 2500m — in 12 months we would be pretty hopeful he could be shaping up for some of the bigger country cups.’’
Yates said although there were no plans in mind for the horse’s next start, provided he pulled up well after Monday’s win they might consider a midweek meeting at Sandown if there was a 2400m to 2500m race at his class.
Robertson made it pretty clear he would be happy for that next ride wherever it was.
‘‘It was a lovely run today, he travelled easily and was ready to go when we turned the corner,’’ Robertson said.
‘‘I have trialled him and already rated him as a pretty promising horse and I agree with the trainers that he will easily go further,’’ he said.
‘‘Today was close, but I was never in doubt, once we got to the front he was happy to quicken up and although the second-place horse was battling on, I always thought we would win.’’
Once the field straightened, Robertson took Weave straight to the running rail and headed for home while all the horses in the minor placings battled away wider on the track.
Gwenda Johnstone was the only Echuca trainer to have any joy at the postponed meeting — it was set down for Friday before the 40°C-plus forecast had the meet moved.
In the next race, the $20000 Sportsbet Grand Handicap over 1000m, her three-year-old maiden Flying Batya went out at the good odds of 8-1 and ran away from the field to win by two lengths on the bit.
The filly’s first win, with Jarrod Fry aboard, almost seemed inevitable; she had four placings in her first four starts, including finishing third in her previous three starts.
It would not be an Echuca meeting without the Darren Weir/Dean Yendall combination winning at least one race, which they did in the $20000 Quest Echuca Maiden Plate over 1200m with Leica Celebre getting up in her third start this preparation.
Jockey Linda Meech capped off a good day winning the penultimate race, the $16000 Murphy’s Turf and Landscaping Hcp over 1400m, on Bel Burgess.
She backed that up in the last of the day for a double, taking out the $16000 Echuca Newsagency Hcp over 1200m on Big Spender.
— Riverine Herald