WOODLAWN Cup day threw up plenty of surprises at the Lismore Turf Club on Saturday with a trio of roughies getting up, short-priced favourites getting rolled and a sensation at the gates in the feature race.
Winners came from all over the track as bookies got the better of punters and Josh Jones and Bruce Swan combined to take out the Woodlawn Cup (1516m).
But not before some drama.
With the field locked away and the starter on his stand, Lismore specialist and $10 chance Mainsail jacked up in his stall, dislodging rider Darron Coleman.
The horse got cast inside the barriers and in a panic lashed out, kicking Bondit and Invincible Power, which were loaded alongside it, and all three were scratched on veterinary advice.
The race was run and for the second year in a row Bruce Swan won the cup for owner Ron Skinner, who had implored the trainer to do so – but their plan almost came unstuck a few weeks back.
Shaolhaven Rock won the race for connections last year but at that time the Woodlawn Cup was a 1000m sprint.
Swan had been aiming 2009 runner-up Acquits at the Cup before a chance meeting changed his plans.
“I was speaking with stewards and decided to give (Lismore Turf Club secretary-manager) Michael Timbrell a call to ask about the race,” Swan said.
“Lucky I did because it was then that I found out the race would be run over 1500m and I needed to get a different horse ready.”
Fortunately Swan had another Skinner horse in work that was suited to the distance – Mauled.
And when the four-year-old came hurtling down the outside to grab victory on the line, the plan read success.
Making the win even sweeter was the fact that Swan and Skinner picked up the galloper at a Magic Millions tried horse sale for a song at $1500; Mauled has pocketed them $18,900 at his past three starts.
“That is a nice return, isn’t it,” Swan said. “Great ride by Joshua (Jones), he is as good as any rider going around.”
Earlier in the day, old favourite Flood Hero gave Lismore trainer Paddy Hancock some joy when he won the 2000m Benchmark 65.
Back to his right class after a luckless run at Eagle Farm last outing, the seven-year-old was taken to the front by Emily Kehoe and fought off all challengers to land his ninth career win.
Coffs Harbour trainer Trent Greentree could have a nice horse on his hands in the impressive winner of the fourth race, Tier.
The former Peter Snowden galloper defied the usual pattern of racing at Lismore to sit well off the speed.
Apprentice Belinda Hodder was able to save many lengths by sticking to the rails and when asked for an effort the daughter of Quest For Fame cruised to the front and won.