Good as Gold
By STEVE SPINKS
IT wasn't the biggest race that jockey Justin Stanley had won.
But it was one of the sweetest as the former Casino boy returned to his home track to guide home the Ricky Ludwig-trained Row Boat in the $20,000 Casino RSM Sky Channel Gold Casino Cup yesterday afternoon.
Stanley, who now is now based on the Gold Coast, timed Row Boat's run to perfection as the eight-year-old gelding won by a short head from Kaaptive Idea, with Ludwig's second runner Sundae Jester a neck away, third.
"It's my first home town Cup," an ecstatic Stanley said after the feature event at Casino.
"As soon as I started riding I'd always wanted to win a Casino Cup or Beef Week Cup.
"I have won bigger races but this is pretty good."
The 24-year-old and his family are synonymous with Casino racing.
Stanley's father Peter is a well-known former leading jockey and now trainer and his mother Dianne is the secretary-manager of the Casino Racing Club.
"I thought Row Boat was a good chance before the race," Stanley said.
"I had a good run on the fence and then just got a chance."
The former Casino hoop also rode a winner in race five the Sky Channel Handicap (1900m) on Olympic Time.
For Beaudesert trainer Ludwig, it capped off a remarkable run at Casino.
In 2003, Row Boat won the Beef Week Cup, but was left in the barrier in the Casino Cup a couple of months later and failed to place.
In 2004, Sundae Jester won both the Beef Week Cup and the Casino Cup double.
In 2005, Sundae Jester ran third at the Beef Week Cup and again ran third yesterday behind its stablemate.
"Row Boat won back here two years ago," Ludwig said.
"I thought he was the better chance out of the two here today."
So with all the success that Ludwig has had at Casino is he considering moving to NSW from Beaudesert?
"Not yet," he chuckled.
Best of the locals was the 2005 Beef Week Cup winner Impregnable, from Danny Bowen's stable in Ballina, finishing fourth.
Pre-race favourite Sam's Dream finished fifth.