No one could begrudge owner Phillip Naughtin his moment of glory with Teo Enteo in the Ausmet Roofing Wagga Pacers Cup on Saturday night.
Nautin is also a part-owner of one of Wagga’s best thoroughbreds Devised who has finished second in the past two Wagga Gold Cups by less than a head.
It was his time in a different code as Teo Enteo unleashed a brilliant final sprint to win from the favourite Nowitski.
Teo Enteo is unbeaten in three starts at Wagga and now races under the care of Darren Hancock.
Youthful reinsman Mark Pitt drove to instructions settling back on Teo Enteo before running home his final 800 metres in better than 57 seconds.
Pitt had driven Teo Enteo to three previous wins when he was prepared by Wayne Potter.
The winner is by Armbro Operative from Potter’s former top racemare The Milky Way.
Hancock won the Wagga Cup in 1993 with Red Chip and was confident of success leading into the feature race.
“I thought he was the horse to beat because I know how he can finish off,” he said.
“He ran very well to finish third behind Beautide only a couple of starts ago and he went onto win the Inter Dominion so that’s pretty good form.”
Despite his record of 15 wins from 43 starts, Teo Enteo was sent out at odds of $8.20 with Nowitski starting a $1.40 favourite.
Hancock said Teo Enteo will contest the Young Cup this weekend.
Meanwhile, Lagoon Stride made it three straight victories with another dominant display in the Cottontail Winery & Restaurant Wagga Derby.
Lagoon Stride raced outside of the favourite Business In Motion for the latter part of the race and wore him down with Your Excused finishing well for second.
Driver Amanda Turnbull said Lagoon Stride had improved this campaign since being gelded.
“He is going really well and should keep measuring up to the better races for his age,” she said.
Turnbull and her father Steve also captured the final race with the favourite Highview Conall who has won five of his past seven starts.
While the visitors captured two of the feature races, it was the locals who finished on top in the other main events.
Talented youngster Sporty Spook proved he will be a force at the Bathurst Gold Crown with a dominant victory over Breeders Plate winner Rich Virgin in the Pats Tyres & More Rising Stars.
Sporty Spook has won three and finished second twice – both times behind another Gold Crown contender Stening – in his five starts.
The win continued the success of trainer-driver David Kennedy who only six days earlier captured the NSW Oaks with Shes A Runa.
The Invitational Drivers was taken out by Sokys Big Bullet with reinsman Phil Maguire in charge for trainer Bruce Harpley.
Grin And Gold defeated the favourite Amanda Von in the Wagga Oaks for trainer-driver Steve Harris.
The filly finished powerfully to win her first race at her third start for Harris.
Part-owner Bronwyn Turner said it was timely Grin And Gold broke through in the $7000 event.
“Steve has done a great job with her and to win this race is a big thrill,” she said.
Wagga’s meeting set new records with a 60 per cent increase in gate takings for its first Carnival Of Cups held in March.
Previously Wagga had been scheduled to race in October or April, but the March date proved a bonanza.
The biggest cup night crowd seen for years turned out in a flashback to the glory days of the sport.
“It was great to see such a big crowd back at the trots,” one enthusiast said.
Wagga’s meeting was the second consecutive Saturday night Carnival Of Cups held in the Riverina with Young to follow on Saturday night.
Another highlight was the exhibition work out by NSW pacer of the year Frith.
The mare, looking bigger and stronger than last season, wasn’t fully extended clocking a mile rate of 1.59.7 seconds.
Trainer-driver Bruce Harpley is delighted with her progress.
“She is on target to resume in about two weeks judging by that,” he said.
Harness Racing NSW