Emma Turnbull’s plans for the Gilgandra Cup went out the window early during Sunday’s feature race but she recovered and claimed victory at Dubbo Harness Racing Club.
The main attraction during the Gilgandra community-themed meeting, the 2120m cup was run at a rapid pace early and that forced Turnbull to change her plans with Tuapeka Glory.
The first quarter of the race was run in an electric 28.8 seconds and with two horses galloping and dropping out of contention, Tuapeka Glory ($10) sat at the rear of the main pack.
The Amanda Turnbull-trained Two Play ($12) led early while Modern Maestro ($5) sat outside it and the favourite, the Bernie Hewitt-trained-and-driven Lets Katchmeifucan ($1.85) sat close behind.
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When the field got the bell for the final lap it was when Tuapeka Glory made his move, Turnbull moving the gelding trained by her mother Wendy to the outside.
She ran along three wide and rounded up the field and by the back straight she was second behind Modern Maestro and ahead of the fading Two Ply.
Geoffrey Simpson’s talented Castalong Shadow began to loom but the leading pair had started to move well clear.
Modern Maestro, trained by Steve Turnbull and driven by his son Mitch, had used up plenty of energy early and was no match for Tuapeka Glory in the straight.
The Kiwi six-year-old and Emma Turnbull went on to win by 2.1m from Modern Maestro while the gallant Castalong Shadow was a further eight metres back in third.
Lets Katchmeifucan finished fifth.
“My plans weren’t to be back near last,” the winning driver said of the start.
“I hoped to be up there near the lead but everything went out the window with so much speed on and in the end it was probably the place to be.
“With a lap to go I was smiling a lot to myself but there was still a lot of work to do. I thought I might have to take off a fraction early on him but it didn’t worry him.”
The win was recorded in an eye-catching mile rate of 1:58.5.
While Tuapeka Glory started the race as a $10 chance, the winning driver and connections came into the race in a positive mood.
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He had scored a win at Junee two starts back while last time out he ran second in the Country Series Final at Menangle behind Royal Gamble and ahead of Bernie Hewitt’s in-form Mackeral.
“He went super at Menangle last start and went really well again,” Turnbull said.
“He’s got a little bit of a future hopefully so we’ll see how far he goes.”
The win was the ninth of Tuapeka Glory’s career and came in start number 32.
Turnbull stated she and her mother might give the six-year-old some time in the paddock now after a string of tough performances while adding her next race wasn’t set in stone.
Sunday’s win came in one of just two drives Turnbull had for the day while it was also one of only two starters on the day for her mother.