NARACOORTE trainer Sue Murphy and jockey Paul Marks have combined again to win back-to-back Marma Cups.
After the pair enjoyed an eight-length win with Bredlign in 2013, racegoers at the Murtoa-Marma Racing Club track on Wednesday could have been forgiven for thinking it was a case of deja vu.
This time the winner was five-year-old gelding Back On Track, who narrowly finished ahead of Taratruce by about a neck.
Murtoa-Marma Racing Club director Majella Ballantine said the 800-strong crowd who braved the weather were treated to quality entertainment both on and off the track.
“The committee and club are pretty happy with the result and it was a pretty good crowd considering the rain started about 11am,” she said.
“The weather probably kept a few away, but those who did come had a wonderful time.”
Ms Ballantine said the small field of just four runners in the day’s main race was disappointing.
“I think ours was the fifth race meeting in the Wimmera in the past 10 days and that probably affected us,” she said.
Horsham jockey Holly McKechnie was one of two riders to complete a winning double, alongside Mt Gambier’s Kane Post.
McKechnie rode Ground and Pound to victory in the J.V. Delahunty Memorial Maiden Plate, before again having success in race four with the Simon Gebert-trained six-year-old Top Flight.
Ms Ballantine said a quality track provided the foundation for a number of down-to-the-wire finishes.
“There were some pretty close finishes, a couple of photo finishes,” she said.
“We were pleased with the way the track raced and we got some good reports on it.”
Post completed the narrowest of victories on two occasions, winning the second race with Chicote Bar and in the following race with Just A Chat.
Ms Ballantine had no luck with the horse she trains and is now retiring, Kayeema Jay.
The eight-year-old, with Murtoa jockey John Dertilis on board, finished sixth in the day’s final race.
“That was his 69th start – I think he’s just telling us he’s had enough,” she said.
Race 1: J.V. Delahunty Memorial 3YO Maiden Plate 1100-metre – Ground and Pound.
Race 2: Cec Hopper and Sons Maiden Plate 1200-metre – Chicote Bar.
Race 3: Agritech Rural Maiden Plate 1600-metre – Just A Chat.
Race 4: Polvin Fencing Systems 0-58 handicap 1600-metre – Top Flight.
Race 5: Emmetts-John Deere Marma Cup 2050-metre – Back On Track.
Race 6: Railway Hotel-Murtoa Community Pharmacy BM64 handicap 1100-metre – Big Brut.