NORMALLY if The Lagoon trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull narrowly missed out on a win it would come as a disappointment, but that was not the case on Sunday.
It was because the runner that beat her home in the annual Billy Soo Memorial Blayney Cup (2,400 metres) was also a member of her team.
Nineteen-year-old Brendan Barnes was in the gig behind Chumlee ($4.50), who held on to beat Turnbull aboard Parramatta ($1.70 favourite) by 1.3m.
Given Chumlee headed into the race on the back of a win in the Bidgee Bulk Griffith Cup and Parramatta had been crowned PJ Hall Memorial champion in his second start for Turnbull, the trainer had rated them both as winning prospects.
“That was a good result and they are both nice horses,” Turnbull said.
“I wouldn’t have been able to pick one over the other, I just would have said whoever gets the best run because there is not much between them at all.
“Parramatta didn’t handle the track quite as well as Chumlee, I went to take off early and he didn’t like that.
“It was his first time on a smaller track, so he didn’t really know what was going on. He’d only run on bigger tracks here and they have got nice tracks in New Zealand as well.
“[But] He’s been a good buy for us, so hopefully he can keep it going.”
While Barnes opted out of the early battle for the lead given Chumlee’s second row draw, Turnbull adopted different tactics.
From barrier five Parramatta joined a line of six who made a good start, but the New Zealand native was uncomfortable.
Turnbull had to drop back and was caught three wide as Zodiac Dream took up from spot.
Eventually Parramatta settled one out and one back, while Barnes set off on a three-wide move with Chumlee.
As the bell for the final lap sounded, Chumlee was a head off the pace outside Zodiac Dream, but he soon took over the lead.
Chumlee zipped off the front, but both Parramatta and Uncle John set off in pursuit while Beeston also made up ground from further back in the field.
Chumlee led into the home straight and while Parramatta took ground off him late, the five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere x Armbro Shannon gelding did enough to win.
Beetson ($7.10) crossed the line in third, a further 3m back.
It was Chumlee’s fourth win from seven starts this season and came with a 2:00.8 mile rate.
“I will probably stick to the Carnival of Cups with both of them for awhile now. Both are nominated for Young [Cherry Festival Cup] on Friday, I will just have to see how they pull up though,” Turnbull said.