Sport

Steve is King for a day at Benalla

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December 14, 2017

Doogan's Rise, with Lachlan King in the saddle, wins at Benalla on December 9.

Wangaratta trainer Steve Cunningham.

Wangaratta trainer Steve Cunningham and apprentice jockey Lachlan King enjoyed a big day out at Benalla’s twilight meeting on Saturday.

Cunningham only took two horses to the track, put King on both of them, and went home with two winners.

They combined to win races three and six on the seven-event card — including one of the races of the day, the $22000 LJ Hooker Real Estate Benalla Maiden Plate over 1406m, with Faramondo.

The other highlight of the meeting was jockey Billy Egan, who picked up the first of the day and left the track on a high when he also landed the last to complete a winning double.

Cunningham is a fixture at Benalla because it is so close to his stables, but he even had to admit Saturday was ‘‘a pretty good result’’.

‘‘I like racing at Benalla around this time of the year, the track is a really good one in the summer when things are a bit drier,’’ Cunningham said.

‘‘But I was still amazed at the price Faramondo started — I got 8-1, he was fixed all day at 6-1 and finally jumped at 5-1.

‘‘He is very lightly raced, this was his third start and he is a six-year-old, and with two seconds from his first two starts we thought he was a pretty sure thing.’’

Faramondo is likely to be pushed out to 1600m at his next start with Cunningham confident he will do well up to 2000m.

At the other end of the scale the veteran Doogan’s Rise continued on his merry way, winning the $18000 Specsavers 0-58 Handicap over 2046m.

After which Cunningham joked King owed him one after he rode a horse called Harason that ‘‘beat Doogan’s Rise by a nose’’ at its previous start.

‘‘I give Lachlan as many rides as I can as he is pretty good at it and he squared up with me by winning on Doogan today,’’ he said. ‘‘That horse is simply an old marvel; he is seven now, but as honest as the day he started, always runs well and gives his all and now has seven wins from his 48 starts — plus 16 placings.

‘‘Even better when I got him he had already been with a few trainers and was really at a crossroads, with only $2900 in earnings. Now he has $120000 and showing no signs of slowing down.’’

Sired by Naturalism, Doogan’s Rise is bred to stay and has raced as far as 3800m.

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