Same Arena ... different Cup!
By STEVE SPINKS
JOHN Everson's Cups runneth over. This was the scenario yesterday when top-weight Arena Valadora stormed home over the final 300 metres to win the $35,000 Toohey's New Lismore Gold Cup (2100m). Only two weeks ago Arena Valadora won the Ballina Cup after a perfect ride by leading Brisbane jockey Glen Colless. So it was yesterday. Colless eased Arena Valadora to the lead the first time down the straight and then sat comfortably in third, while favourite Ears Ronny and Bossy Matilda did most of the running. Turning into the straight Colless gave the six-year-old brown gelding a surge and he did enough to take the money from Rodeo Chute and That's My Mum. For Ballina-based trainer John Everson, it was an equally emotional victory at the Lismore Turf Club as it was at his home track two weeks ago. "I'm so excited I can hardly speak again," Everson said in his victory speech. After he'd calmed down, Everson was more circumspect. "It's very special to me," he said. "A lot of credit has to go to Sue (Logan, the strapper). "The way she turns out her horses ... she's just a perfectionist." Logan is Everson's daughter and the duo obviously make a fine team. There was another family connection for the Cup winner. Everson's wife Vicki is the cousin of Di McCauley, who is co-owner with her husband Ian. "It's such a family thing, it's very emotional," Logan said as she led 'PJ' back to the stable. Colless' effort deserves another mention. At the Ballina Cup he urged Everson to change his mind and let him race at the front. The tactics worked and yesterday he rode the perfect race. "He struggled a little bit with the 60kg," Colless said. "He hit a flat spot in the straight, but he knuckled down after that. "He's the class horse of the race." Everson just shook his head at the Brisbane jockey's skill. "He's a top jockey," he admired. "If you put an intelligent boy on a horse, you'll go well." Everson has had Arena Valadora for only three runs. The Ballina trainer is now tossing up between three races for Arena Valadora's next run. One on the list is the $200,000 Craven Plate (2000m) in Sydney on October 2, the second day of the Spring Racing Carnival. Others being considered are the $60,000 Port Macquarie Cup (2000m) on October 8 and the $100,000 Canberra Cup (2000m) on October 10. Everson and the owners will make the decision in the next couple of days. Arena Valadora's Ballina-Lismore double Cup victory is the first time a horse has accomplished the feat since 1997. That time it was Muswellbrook-based Mack'N'Me, trained by Mack Griffith, following up his 1996 win.