THOUSANDS of race goers packed into the Mornington Racecourse on Sunday 4 November for the annual Peninsula Cup.
The highlight of the year for the Mornington Racecourse saw a crowd of more than 9,300 people flock into the stands to witness the Warrnambool-based master trainer, Darren Weir, claim yet another country cup.
Having also won the Mornington Cup in March with Kings Will Dream, Weir backed-up his success on Sunday to take out the Peninsula Cup with five-year-old stallion, Royal Ace.
Despite drifting in the market before the race, Royal Ace managed to run over the heavily supported Mornington-based gelding, Call It A Day, in the final 50 metres of the straight to land the victory. The win made it back-to-back victories for the son of Casino Prince who claimed a benchmark 78 race at Moe in emphatic fashion at his start prior.
Royal Ace held a half-length margin over the Wez Hunter-trained Call It A Day (second) and the Maher/Eustace-trained gelding, Black Sail (third).
Winning jockey Ben Allen said his mount, Royal Ace, can be quite a good horse when he starts to switch on.
“He’s definitely got his own personality,” Allen said.
“When he does have his mind on the job, he can really gallop so that was good.
“I was happy [with the pace], he was in a rhythm and it was just a nice gallop the whole way and I think that’s what made him come into the race really well.
“It’s good to get another winner for Weiry and the team, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Gallant runner-up, Call It A Day, is likely to back-up into a 2000m race at Flemington on Saturday 10 November, according to trainer Wez Hunter.
Hunter said he thought his gelding was very tough, after having a hard run out in front.
“I thought he was very brave,” he said.
“Ideally we would have wanted a softer lead but he stuck on bravely and I thought he did well.”
“He licked out the bin this morning (Monday), and even though he hasn’t raced over 2000m, I think he’ll run it out strongly.
“He’ll be hard fit having had 11 starts this preparation and he’s racing very well.”
Gun Sydney-based jockey, Tommy Berry, is likely to stay aboard Call It A Day when he heads to Flemington.
Overall, the Mornington-based trainers had a relatively successful day at the feature race meeting with the Tony Noonan-trained Raven’s Blaze (Race 3) and the Chris Meagher-trained Born Bad (Race 2) both saluting earlier in the day.
The Tony Noonan-trained mare, Raven’s Blaze, was one of the most dominant winners on the card, scoring a comfortable 3.25-length victory to break her maiden first-up. Following the victory, Noonan said he’ll give the mare another run in two to three weeks’ time before looking towards the autumn for softer tracks.
The Chris Meagher-trained gelding, Born Bad, was also a strong maiden winner at his second career start. The win landed apprentice jockey, Jessica Eaton, her first victory at Mornington for her master trainer, Chris Meagher.