The $125,000 bet365 Benalla Gold Cup was the setting for some bigtime gambling – and they all got it wrong.
Bizzwinkle was pounded by punters, driven for 31/0 when the market began, while Sin Two Win looked unlikely to do much either, but punters still couldn’t resist turning 14/1 into 8/1 by jump time.
But for the plungers to prove a point their horses all had to get past the Mike Moroney-trained Hang Man, which he declared the day before the cup, would be well suited by the 2000m journey.
“He had a really good last start run (a fourth out of 16 at Flemington earlier this month) and when he is running into that sort of form he will take some beating,” Moroney said.
“He’s always been that sort of horse, one that is always about the money.
“Last prep we got four really good starts out of him but now he’s getting older – a six-year-old gelding – he might increase the number of runs each prep.”
With a small field of just seven runners when they jumped, perennial bush horse Another Coldie shot to the front, kept bowling along and then went for broke coming off the last bend.
But Hang Man, who had travelled second last and last for the whole journey, suddenly found another gear and in a blanket run for six of the seven starters hit the front just as he hit the line.
Another Coldie faded into fourth at the finish while the two heavily-backed horses in the field – Bizzwinkle and Sin to Win – also flew home but too late.
Moroney's stable foreman at the cup was Jack Turnbull, who described the win as “super”.
Turnbull said the horse got back a lot further than planned – or that they would have liked.
“But James (jockey James Winks) weighed it up well to win by a long neck,” he said.
“He is a beautifully actioned and just going forward we’ll have to see if we keep him as 2000m. Maybe we could step up to a mile and a half, but we will leave that decision to Michael.”
The very lightly raced horse now has six wins from just 16 starts.
Winks said his ride got held back further than he would like because there was a “fair bit” of jockeying around going on and he didn’t want to get caught up in that.
“It was going to do more harm than good to fight that, so I stayed out of it and to the horse’s credit he went hard and ducked it beautifully on the line,” Winks said.
“Jeez, when he went he went really quickly – he’s a proper horse this horse.
“Originally I wanted to stay up, but with no value in that we had to rethink the race – this horse got into a lovely rhythm and it just panned out that when he went it gave me a really good feeling.
“And there will be better races for him and he is a horse I would like to stick with.”
There was a slight twist in the tail for Winks – he was fined $300 by stewards under the provisions of AR211(1) for weighing in in excess of 1/2kg over his declared riding weight.
In reaching penalty, stewards took into account his excellent record in relation to this rule.