Lismore Cup victory sealed with a kiss
THE old firm, trainer Jim Jarvis, jockey Jasen Watkins and Mr Gold Fire, celebrated their reunion by winning the XXXX Gold Centenary Lismore Cup (2100m) yesterday.
And they sealed it with another kiss.
Soon after Watkins returned to scale on Mr Gold Fire, Jarvis honoured a promise he had made the previous Tuesday.
“I promised I would kiss Jasen if he won the cup and I am a man of my word,” Jarvis said.
Earlier they had kissed and made up after Watkins switched camps and rode Belmonte instead of Mr Gold Fire in this year's Coffs Harbour Cup.
Belmonte won and Mr Gold Fire finished seventh.
The win has given the old firm their fifth Northern Rivers cup.
The sequence started when Jarvis, Watkins and Mr Gold Fire won the Coffs Harbour Cup in August 2006.
They then went on to win the Taree and Ballina cups before returning last year to win their second Taree Cup before EI hit.
Jarvis' training base is at Cranbourne but he comes north to Coffs Harbour every year with a team of horses for the Northern Rivers carnivals.
Jarvis and his wife Kristine own stables and a unit at Coffs Harbour, and are about to become locals.
“I have wound down my earth moving business the business in Cranbourne and we are looking for a house near Coffs with 20 or 30 acres to buy,” Jarvis said.
“We are going to settle up here permanently.”
Watkins is set return to his roots as well. The Coffs Harbour based jockey is moving to Ballina in two weeks to link with Danny Bowen.
But he will not be severing his link with Jarvis.
Watkins was born and bred in Casino and is the son of former jockey Brian Watkins.
“I used to go to the races with Dad all the time and the Lismore Cup was one of the big races on the calendar,” Watkins said.
“I always dreamed of winning it but this is the first time I have ridden in it.
“I am glad Jim and I are a team again. I love that horse. I was 100 per cent sure we would win the cup after his work last Saturday morning and 120 per cent sure after he worked on Tuesday.
“I know the horse so well and he has just bloomed in the past week.”
Watkins settled Mr Gold Fire ($5.80) seventh early as Cedar Manor (Darron Coleman) and In Niugini (Wade Clasohm) made the pace.
It was not until half-way down the straight that Watkins pushed Mr Gold Fire through a gap to hit the lead and raced away to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths from the Casino trained Olympic Time (Jason Taylor) with Currigee (Ric McMahon) a further half head away third.
The favourite, Regal Gaze (Eddie Wilkinson), finished fourth after looming at the 200m then fading.