"DON'T get beat" - that was the instruction given to Amanda Turnbull before Thursday night's Renshaw Cup and the star The Lagoon driver delivered.
(min cost $8)
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Steering $1.75 favourite Stingray Tara for trainer Jason Grimson in the annual 2,525 metres feature at Penrith, Turnbull got the job done in all the way fashion.
It made it a good night for Grimson, who just an hour earlier had been trackside at Cambridge to watch his runner Majestic Cruiser finish a close second in the inaugural edition of the $NZ900,000 The Race.
"I'm in New Zealand at the moment, I was actually in the drive-through at Maccas when I watched it, I was getting a cheeseburger," Grimson laughed.
"I just told her [Turnbull] don't get beat, and she got the job done.
"She only had one job, she had to lead. She done well, God bless her."
A new member of Grimson's stable, Stingray Tara had won her two prior starts for the trainer, including a Group 3 at Menangle. Cameron Hart was in the gig for both of those, but as he joined the trainer in New Zealand, a different driver was needed for the Renshaw Cup.
Grimson had no hesitation in asking Turnbull, the 32-year-old currently sitting fourth in the NSW drivers' premiership.
Turnbull had also won the two most recent editions of the Renshaw Cup with her own runner Ellmers Image.
In 2019 Turnbull won her maiden Renshaw Cup when Ellmers Image faced the breeze for the entire 2,525m trip after going from barrier 11.
The feature race did not go ahead in 2020 due to COVID-19, so when Ellmers Image saluted as a $4.40 chance last year, it made it back-to-back Renshaw Cups for Turnbull.
Now she's got the hat-trick and should Grimson qualify a runner for the 2023 edition, he wants Turnbull back in the gig for him.
"I messaged her last week and told her that I wanted to put her on when we go away to New Zealand, I was quite happy to have her," he said.
"I think I'll save her for next year now, I'll put her on next year too."
To land her third consecutive winning drive in the annual Penrith feature, Turnbull knew finding the front with Stingray Tara would be key.
She did just that as Stingray Tara showed enough speed from barrier one to stop her rivals from crossing, but once in front Turnbull still had work to do with the favourite.
Ranger Bomb came up an eyeballed the favourite before dropping back, then into the home straight both Pete Said So and Delightful Dude loomed on the outside of Stingray Tara.
But the six-year-old gelding held on to win by a neck over Pete Said So ($14) with just a head back to Delightful Dude ($18).
Stingray Tara clocked a 1:57.5 mile rate - the fifth fastest in the 52-year history of the race which formerly featured a standing-start.
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