FIVE-year-old Zontario took out the Alex Scott & Staff Woolamai Cup at the weekend, obliterating the eight-horse race to win by 7L.
And it’s the horse’s fifth consecutive win – as Maxwell Keenan rode the horse to the finish line while trainer Rachael Cunningham celebrated from the picnic area.
Keenan couldn’t wipe the grin off his face, considering the horse recorded its first win just over a month ago on December 26.
It was that win at Drouin, where Zontario won by 1.25L, that would mark the start of five successive victories with races at Hanging Rock, Woolamai and another at Drouin.
Race caller and Woolamai and District Racing Club vice president, Adam Olszanski, said it was a terrific crowd with hundreds of people attending to see the feature race of the season.
“It’s their first Woolamai Cup, they won here a couple of weeks ago, and to win five races in a row is incredible,” he said on Saturday.
“Before Christmas, the horse had never won a race.
“Considering the stormy weather we had this morning, I thought the turn-out was terrific.
“The track held up really well, we had about 8mm to 9mm in two hours.”
He thanked all the sponsors for their incredible support.
The wins seemed to be attributed to a change in jockeys, with Racha Cuneen and Keenan taking the reins for the last five races.
After the Woolamai Cup, the club decided to call off the last two races.
“Despite the efforts of all the staff to stabilise the running rail, extreme winds ended up putting a nail in those last couple of races,” Olsanski said.
Alex Scott & Staff have long been supporters of the Woolamai and District Racing Club, including sponsoring the Woolamai Cup for around the last decade.
“We’re new here, but it’s a fantastic event to come to,” said Andrew Marshall, son of Zontario owner Brian Marshall.
“A big congratulations must go to [trainers’] Rachel, Peter and their staff. As well as a thank you to Alex Scott & Staff for their support.
“Max and Zontario are obviously very good buddies.”
In other races, Rebecca Waymouth’s Sally Sells Shells secured another win in the seven-horse Trophy Race (1) Handicap (1008m), totalling three successive victories for the horse at Woolamai.
In the Bendigo Bank San Remo Open Trophy Race (2308m), Mick Bell’s Celestial Sky took out first place following on from another victory at Woolamai in January.
A scratching in the TS Constructions Open Trophy Race Handicap (1008m) saw a seven-horse field, with Gary Mallison’s Count The Interest becoming victorious – its first win in almost a year.
And Don Dwyer’s Something Missing scored its first win in the ‘5 Blind’ Maiden Plate (1508m).
The next race meet is on Saturday, February 23.
High five for Zontario