Day At The Track

Geoff Webster's winning run continues

11:36 AM 08 Mar 2009 NZDT
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Geoff Webster
Geoff Webster
File Photo

Geoff Webster enhanced his status as the master of Harness Racing's 'Victorian Country Cup Circuit' following the win of Lucky Elsie in tonight's Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup (2680m) at Terang.

The classy Christian Cullen mare became the third horse from the Webster stable to win a leg of the Melton Saddlery Victorian Country Cup Championship when she sprinted hard to blouse a quality field in the $25,000 event.

She emulated Mister Swinger, winner of the Ballarat, Cranbourne and Nyah Cups, and Cobram Cup champion Genuine Star to prompt Webster to jokingly compare himself to Melbourne Cup maestro Bart Cummings.

"I feel like the Bart Cummings of the country cup circuit," he laughed. "We've won a few races and got to see a bit of the state, so it's been a good year."

A patient drive from the Bannockburn trainer-driver was the key to Lucky Elsie's biggest win since the 2006 Group 1 Ladyship Mile.

After a swift beginning from her front-line draw in the standing start event, she had the early lead but Webster handed up to Cosmic Under Fire when Grant Campbell made a charge for the lead two laps from home.

From there Lucky Elsie had a gun trip on the leader's back in a 62.7-second first half of the last mile, enabling her to sprint hard along the sprint lane when the gap appeared in the home straight.

The $5 second favourite's finishing burst proved too much for Monarco Man ($6.30), who flashed home from near the rear of the field to grab second, just three metres from Lucky Elsie and a half-metre in front of Few Good Men ($5.40).

A 28.4-second final quarter followed a 29.1-second third split, resulting in a 2:02.9 mile rate.

"She's had a good couple of months and everything pretty much went to plan tonight," Webster said of the mare who lifted her earnings to $207,000 with the 20th win of her 50-start career.

"I would have been happy enough to hold the front, but when he (Campbell) wanted it I didn't have much alternative and she probably races better like that anyway."

Lucky Elsie's win completed a good night for Webster, who won the race before the Cup with Secret Tender and managed minor placings behind hot favourites with two other runners, Slip Mahone and McGintysgoat.

Brad BISHOP

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