woolamai_cupLardner Lou won the Woolamai Cup by three quarters of a length ahead of Tearaway Tommy in an electrifying finish. G130615

CLOSE to three thousand spectators witnessed outside hope Lardner Lou storm home to claim Woolamai Cup glory on Saturday.
The five year-old mare, trained by Michelle Murray from Sale, had finished dead last in its last two races earlier this month and was listed as a $13 chance with bookmakers.
Despite the exciting finish – which saw Lardner Lou streak ahead of front-runner Tearaway Tommy after the final bend – the crowd let out a collective sigh when the unlikely winner passed the post.
As Woolamai’s racing announcer wryly noted, there weren’t too many excited punters jumping for joy since most of the favourites were left straggling in the bottom five of the 10-horse race.
And while it wasn’t the odds-on favourite, all eyes were on Born This Way to make history and win its third Woolamai Cup in a row.
However, it wasn’t to be, with the former champion struggling after an average start, finishing in fifth place.
But with Born This Way’s trainer, Cliff Murray, also part-owner of Lardner Lou, any disappointment over the missed three-peat opportunity would likely have been subdued.
Saturday’s mammoth day of racing was also a memorable one for Lardner Lou’s jockey Grant Seccombe.
Just than an hour before the main cup race, Seccombe rode another outside chance, Aeronautical Joe, to victory in the Bendigo Bank San Remo Branch Open Trophy Handicap.
The effort was matched by another jockey, Matthew Corbisiero, who took out the day’s two opening races with winners Wright Opinion and Rustana.
Woolamai and District Racing Club secretary Bev Carmichael said the day was another great success.
“The crowd numbers were very pleasing, the horse numbers were great and the racing was exciting,” she said.
“The cup race itself was one of the best picnic cup fields the circuit has had,” she noted, referring to the breadth of talent in the capacity race.

With plenty of shade on offer, attendees were also able to stay hydrated easily thanks to a TAC stall set up near the racecourse exit where promotional staff handed out free bottles of water, sunscreen and sunglasses.

As usual, every marquee was booked out well in advance and Ms Carmichael noted that if you want to secure one for your own group, you’d better get in fast.
“Many of the groups there on Saturday have already told us they’d be back next year,” she said.
“We’re taking bookings for 2016 now, so you’d better be quick.”
For those who missed Saturday’s meet, there are two more left on the calendar at Woolamai for this season: February 21 and March 14.