Maffra Cup for Ocean Miss

David Braithwaite

OCEAN Miss won the $50,000 Maffra Cup on Sunday at Greenwattle Racecouse.

The four-year-old gelding, trained by David and Coral Feek at Mornington and ridden by Jake Noonan, was retuning from a 22-week spell for the 1400 metre benchmark 70 event.

Royal Marine set the pace, but Ocean Miss came from home strongly to win by a length and three-quarters from the favourite, James Cumming’s Fatigues, who left his run a fraction late.

Despite heavy rain in Sale last week, the track presented well for the meeting.

The track began the day rated “soft five”, but was upgraded to “soft four” after race four.

Jockeys Beau Mertens, Daniel Stackhouse and Ben Allen, and trainers Michael Moroney, and Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, produced winning doubles.

The opening race, a 1200m maiden plate, was named in honour of Traralgon-based trainer Allan Douch, who recently died.

The race was won by Rockliff, ridden by Mertens for Ray Besanko at Cranbourne. The three-year-old gelding sat near leader Writtle, before sprinting away in the straight to win by one and a quarter lengths.

Race two, the 1400m three-year-old fillies maiden plate, was won by Star Of Eden, trained by Moroney at Flemington and ridden by Billy Egan. The filly showed class in the straight to win by almost two lengths from Chocolate Kisses, trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

Moroney’s double came in the next event, a 1400m maiden plate, which was taken out by Yatton,

The three-year-old filly, with Stackhouse on the saddle, settled back, but found an opening heading into the straight and won by a length and a quarter from Bishop Rock, trained by Susie Wells at Sale, who finished well.

Through Irish Eyes, ridden by Allen, won race four, the 2200m maiden plate, for Maher and Eustace by a length and a half from Tictoc Tictoc, trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman.

The finish of the day came in race five, the 1100m benchmark 64 handicap. Rolling Moss, trained by Shawn Mathrick at Cranbourne and ridden by Alexandra Bryan, and I’m Cheeky, trained at Sale by Bill Wood, broke away to lead.

As the field closed the gap, I’m Cheeky drifted back, with seven-year-old gelding Rolling Moss having to hold off Wide Awake and Yulong Knight in a photo finish. Cranc, was not far behind in fourth place.

Mertens’ second winner came in Delightful Hustler in race six, the 1400m benchmark 58 handicap.

The four-year-old mare, trained by Nick Harnett at Pakenham, won by three-quarters of a length from Hunamosa.

The day ended with two photo finishes, both won by horses backing up winning debuts.

Race eight, the 1717m benchmark handicap, was won by Ellmaknifico, trained by Maher and Eustace and ridden by Allen, narrowly from Moroney’s Quail Hollow.

Three-year-old gelding Five Star Decanter, trained by Matt Laurie at Mornington and ridden by Stackhouse, won race nine, the 1200m class one handicap, timing his run to perfection to pip Mccain at the post.

The next meeting at Greenwattle will be on Wednesday, April 7.

SALE-based trainer Troy Kilgower won five of the six races on Buchan Cup day, including the main event.

All Brown, ridden by Leigh Taylor, won the $6000 Buchan Cup by one and a quarter lengths from Hard To Kiss, trained by Sharyn Trolove. Kilgower’s Johnny Romance came third.

Kilgower’s five wins for the day places them in second spot in the picnic trainer’s premiership with a total of 17 wins for the season, four behind Don Dwyer.

The stable’s other winners on the day came from Urgent, Dominant Way, Star of the Turf and Rokurokubi. The only race the stable didn’t win was race five, where it finished in second and third placings.