Jodie Lord’s Cawbourne Looney was all the rage as runners were parading, eventually starting at $2.40 with winner Smart Valentino second favourite at $2.90.
In a roughly run affair for those behind first and second, Mark Swift’s Group One Association Cup hero blew his rivals away by 6 ½ lengths at his first start on the track, clocking a sizzling 41.83 from box seven.
For a dog having his first look at the tight Gardens circuit the run was even full of merit and just .01 outside the track record currently held by Zipping Lad, set back in December 2011 when winning this very race.
Shoe Laces Lady ran a fantastic race at big odds from box five after leading early on and trying valiantly to hold off NSW’s dominant stayer of the moment. Local trainer Lorraine Atchison’s Blossom Dior flashed home to secure third place.
Smart Valentino racked up his twelfth win yesterday from just thirty one starts and added $15,000 to his prizemoney total which now sits at $144,410.
With the disappointing last place performance of the pre-race favourite Cawbourne Looney, stewards questioned handler Andy Lord about the run, only to be informed his trailer air-conditioning broke down during the four hour journey from Gunning to Sandgate.
GRNSW Stewards expressed their disappointment that the general public were not made aware of this information. Those comments were far more restrained and genteel than the reactions from punters who had unknowingly backed Cawbourne Looney in to favouritism .