Jockey Michael Heagney takes River Street (far right) to the front to win the $20,000 Casino Cup.
Jockey Michael Heagney takes River Street (far right) to the front to win the $20,000 Casino Cup. Cathy Adams

River Street streaks home

BALLINA trainer Andrew Pilling likened his seven-year-old gelding River Street to a rugby league second-rower who just 'kept on tackling' after its unheralded win in yesterday's $20,000 Casino RSM Club Casino Cup (1400m).

While all eyes were on the Grafton-based favourite, Innocenttassie, there was little pre-race attention paid to the $21 rank outsider.

But as the best part of the field of 14 horses loomed in a line at the 50m mark, it was River Street that showed the extra toe required to win by half-a-length from $16 shot Silver Mountain and Innocenttassie at $2.20.

He may have been unfashionably overlooked by many punters but Pilling was not surprised by River Street's win considering his previous form at Casino had been excellent.

“We always thought there was a run in him here at Casino,” Pilling said.

“That is his third try here for his third win.

“They can wind up a bit here. He sort of gets back and just smokes his pipe and works into it.”

After months of training in the wet at Ballina, Pilling said River Street had appreciated a run on the dry, hard track on offer yesterday at Casino.

“He needs a hard track so it was good to see him on top of the ground,” he said.

“He's just an old trier. If he can put his best foot forward he just has a go at it.”

The time of 1min-23. 50sec equalled the course record and was all the more remarkable as River Street surged away from the rest of the field with 25m to go.

“He's like an old second-row forward, he's always there tackling,” Pilling said.

The next race River Street may tackle is the Ballina Cup.

River Street's success provided jockey Michael Heagney with his second win of the day.

Heagney had to navigate his way through a busy field, which saw Stormy Youth spin out wide at the last turn and make the run home wide on the rails.

Yesterday's eight-race program was marred by a fall in the first race of the day, the Hotel Cecil Maiden Plate (1000m), which saw jockeys Darron Coleman and Motoki Okada taken to hospital.

Both hoops walked away from the incident but Coleman had x-rays taken and Okada was placed under observation after being knocked out in the incident.



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