Cup win delights connections
GREG NASH celebrated his greatest racing moment when Nothingforthepress won the $50,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Summer Cup (1600m).
The five-year-old gelding son of Pressday was brilliantly ridden by Matt McGuren and surged to a half-length win from the Chris Munce-trained St Patrick's Day with John Zielke's Future Event third.
The 2018 Ballina Cup was washed out so the Summer Cup on Friday was seen as something of a replacement.
Stephen Lee, who trains Nothingforthepress and had four runners in the cup, was delighted.
He was more delighted for Nash, Nothingforthepress' owner/breeder and a former president of the Ballina Jockey Club.
"All Greg wanted to do was win a Ballina Cup,” he told Sky Thoroughbred Central's Gary Kliese.
"He's really improved this horse. He can have a break now and come back and maybe run the mile better.”
Nothingforthepress was having his first go at the 1600m and was given the run of the race by McGuren, who pushed him forward from his gate to be sitting just in behind the leading pair, Chloride and St Patrick's Day.
Then he took him out at the 400m as the leaders started to run into the straight and pounced for a good win.
Everything fell into place for Nash.
Nothingforthepress carried No7 saddle cloth, jumped from barrier seven and it was race number seven.
Nash bred Nothingforthepress at his Coopers Shoot property near Bangalow. "I'd rather win the Ballina Cup than the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
Nash said his gelding had been something of an ugly duckling - a young horse no one wanted at the Magic Million sales on the Gold Coast - so he brought him home and raced him.
The gelding has filled out in the past year and turned from a gangly uninspiring individual into a competitive horse with six wins in 24 starts.
The win was Lee's 16th on the Northern Rivers this season and he made it 17 when Viking Raid won the final race of the day.
Lee is second in the trainers' premiership behind Matt Dunn, who grabbed a double on Friday with Maglev and the impressive Sunlit.
Sunlit won the $30,000 Class 1 Showcase (1000m).
"She's well bred but we've been very patient with her,” Dunn said. "She has bigger and better things in store.”
Dunn had a runner in the $75,000 TAB Highway Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill in Sydney on Saturday, Lacey Lynx Pack, but after starting a $6 equal favourite the four-year-old mare finished 15th, nearly 10 lenths behind the winner.