Hecentadove victor of Lismore Cup
LONG-SHOT Hecentadove's win in the $60,000 XXXX Gold Lismore Cup (2100m) Thursday was a true family affair.
Trained at Ballina by John Everson, and owned by his wife Vicki, the five-year-old gelding claimed the cup on the couple's 15th wedding anniversary.
Adding a further family flavour to the story, Everson's daughter, Sue Logan, rides track work on Hecentadove, which surprised many with its all-the-way win.
It was Everson's second Lismore Cup win after Arena Valadora took it out in 2004.
“It is an absolutely fantastic feeling,” Everson said. “It's something that is hard to explain to someone, the feeling you get when you win a cup. Especially from a horse that was rejected. But we had faith in him, and I had faith in Sue.
“I just wish the previous owner had a bit more faith in him, but now my wife Vicki owns him, that's even better.”
Ridden by Northern Rivers prem-iership-winning jockey Marlon Dolendo, Hecentadove went to the front early and was never headed, kicking away with a rails run in the straight to beat fellow long-shot Bold Contact ($21) by a long neck and race favourite Jujulio ($3.20) a further short head away third.
The horse received precious little attention from the pre-race tipsters, nor the on-course punters, despite winning a 2000m race at Lismore on Sunday.
“After the win here on Sunday, Sue rode him out on Monday morning and said to me 'Dad, this horse won't get beaten on Thursday', and I said, 'You're kidding',” Everson said. “She worked him again on Tuesday and she said he was even better. I said, 'He couldn't be better'. But she was right.
“I knew today was the day. I said he might not win but, geez, he will put some spark into this race.”
Dolendo rode Hecentadove to strict instructions, trundling past the post for the first time and then having the staying power to hold off some other fast-finishing horses the second time around.
“I said to Marlon, 'Be at the front at the 200m and you'll win this'. And he was,” Everson said.
It was hard to know whether Dolendo was more excited by hist first cup victory, in his first cup race, or the kisses afterwards from the XXXX promotion girls.
“I'd love to see these girls in my cupboard, they look beautiful to me,” Dolendo said.