Jockey rides At Witz End to a thrilling finish in Casino Cup
AT WITZ End was going to be “ridden cold and come late” in Saturday’s $30,000 The Hotel Cecil Casino Cup, but that all changed early on when the Lismore gelding’s jockey summed up the early lack of pace perfectly.
Belinda Hodder’s decision to go forward and make it a sprint home up the notorious Casino hill was a Cup winner, according to winning trainer Owen Glue.
“It was a brilliant ride,” the Lismore-based Glue said.
“We were going to ride him cold and come late.”
Glue said Hodder’s instructions aboard the five-year-old gelding son of Epaulette were for a late spurt.
“But there was no speed in the race and Belinda elected to go forward and make it a sprint home at the top of the straight,” Glue said.
“He had no weight on his back (55kg).”
Glue knew Casino-trained Exclusive was going to be hard to beat but his 60kg was a big weight and while he chased hard he wasn’t able to catch At Witz End and was beaten just over half a length.
Well backed Prima was almost two lengths away third.
At Witz End has now won seven of his 25 starts and more than $95,000 prizemoney for his owner Vince O’Connell.
It was the gelding’s third run at Casino, finishing sixth in a Class 3 at his first attempt then fourth in the recent Beef Week Cup to Exclusive.
Glue has trained the horse since a yearling and describes him as, “an honest, versatile and adaptable horse”.
Now Glue hopes to win another Cup with him in a few weeks time after aiming him at the Casino Cup/Murwillumbah Cup double.
The $40,000 Murwillumbah Cup (1550m) will be run Friday, August 28 and looks ideal for the gelding.
“It depends on how he pulls up,” Glue said,
“He has won over a mile at Grafton but that’s as far as he wants to go.”
Hodder’s Cup win enabled her to join Matt McGuren and Luke Rolls at the top of the Northern Rivers Racing Association jockey’s premiership.
They have three wins apiece after Rolls snared a double at Casino and McGuren rode the first winner on Cup Day for Matt Dunn.