VETERAN trainer Jim Lake has still got that old magic.
Given lightly raced four-year-old gelding South Arbor four starts ago, he has taken it from being an unlucky maiden to a winner at the Moama Bowling Club Melbourne Cup Day at Echuca.
Taking out the $23,000 Murphy’s Turf and Landscape Maiden Plate after being sent out favourite, South Arbor fended off Master Control and Beetobee.
He is a horse Lake described as a good worker – “sometimes too good and he gets to be a bit of a handful” – who has done everything asked of him since he came to the Echuca stable.
“We really expected him to win today – and he did,” Lake said.
“To win his first race and do it over 1412m proves he is more than just a sprinter,” he said.
“I am pretty confident this fella will do the mile without too much trouble.”
Now he is out of maiden class Lake said he will have to start looking around for his next race.
He admitted he had not thought much beyond Tuesday’s run but now that is behind him he will see how the horse pulled up and then find him another start.
If he does nominate for a 1600m Lake said he should benefit from a light weight.
Jockey Jarrod Fry, who got the horse for its last start fourth at Swan Hill, also described South Arbor as a promising horse.
He said he jumped beautifully from barrier three and settled in nicely behind the leaders.
“The race flowed nicely for him and when I asked him to ease to the outside of the leaders and step it up he responded well,” Fry added.
“When we hit the front I found he wanted to switch off a bit and look around, I have suggested winkers to the trainer, but he fought on well down the straight to win by a long neck,” he said.
“I think he will make a pretty nice horse.”
Bred and owned by Barham’s Tony Penglase, he moved the horse to Lake after it had run seven times with its previous trainer.
Penglase said he had a successful partnership with Lake a few years ago with his horse De Mars and he felt he might be able to do something with South Arbor.
De Mars was a successful country horse – it won eight and placed 24 times. And went out on a high winning the last start of its career, an 1800m at Kerang in 2014.
“So we rekindled the connection and it has paid off here today,” a delighted Penglase said.
“I bred this horse with Leeanne Smith at Bucklee Park near Glenrowan and was always going to keep him,” he said.
“He is a full brother to Hay Bale, who has been a winner at Flemington and Moonee Valley, so he has some credibility in his breeding.
“Today was a fantastic result and we are looking forward to seeing how far he can go.”
The Cornish and Gaskin stable kept the locals on a roll by winning the $20,000 bet365 BM58 handicap over 1618m with Mywordsaidthebird hitting the line hard ahead of Freedoms and Daryl Archard’s Bonville.