'Gazza' makes his day
WHAT a difference 12 months can make.
At the Grafton July Racing Carnival last year, Wyong trainer Stephen Farley arrived with high hopes that promising Sincero could win the Channel 10 2YO event.
Farley left with his pride shattered – and lighter in the wallet – when Sincero was unluckily beaten into second.
Last month, Sincero gave the 39-year-old knockabout trainer his greatest racing triumph by winning the $1 million Group One Stradbroke at Eagle Farm.
And at Grafton yesterday, Farley exacted his own brand of revenge, producing Gazza Guru to score an exciting win in the $45,000 Coffs Coast Prestige South Grafton Cup (1600m).
A late pick-up ride for Tamworth jockey Glenn Lynch after Jasen Watkins stood down, Gazza Guru ensured Farley and the six-year-old's happy group of owners celebrated.
Driven through close to the rails over the latter stages, Gazza Guru ($5.50) scored a 1¼-length win from Slick Sniper ($7), last year's runner-up, with Lucky Luna ($6.50) two lengths away third.
“A bit different to last year,” Farley laughed.
“Life's been sensational for me lately.
"I'm 40 in September.
"It's been a great ride.
“And it's especially nice to have some good horses in the stable.”
The South Grafton Cup plan was set in place earlier this year.
One of the part-owners, Cameron Field, lives at Ballina.
“We sat down, mapped out a plan and decided to have a crack at the South Grafton second-up,” Farley said.
“Gazza Guru's second-up form is good.
“His first-up run at Gosford was sensational.
“He'd worked good before coming up here (from Wyong) and it was a great ride by Glenn.
“Like his trainer, Gazza loves a trip away and coming back to win a feature race at Grafton, well, fantastic.”
Farley said Gazza Guru would now back up in the $70,000 Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) on August 4 then the $60,000 Taree Cup (2000m) on August 21.
“Gazza Guru is a good country cups type horse,” Farley said.
“The three races all fit in well.
“He likes being a bit fresh and has a good turn of foot when he's right.”
The runner-up, Slick Sniper, from the Tracey Bartley yard, is also Coffs Cup bound.
“He's run another great race, pity it wasn't one better,” Bartley said.
For jockey Ric McMahon (Lucky Luna), it was double the disappointment.
McMahon failed to weigh in after finishing third and was fined $500.
“I was dirty on my ride. It's been an expensive, dumb moment,” he told stewards.