Warracknabeal Cup: Royal Mephisto claims victory

TIGHT FINISH: From left, Royal Mephisto, ridden by Roger Booth, in blue, and trained by John Symons and Sheila Laxon, edges past Flashy Fella, second, Orientaped, third, and Gold Medals, fourth, to win the 2014 O’Connors Case IH Warracknabeal Cup on Sunday afternoon. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

TIGHT FINISH: From left, Royal Mephisto, ridden by Roger Booth, in blue, and trained by John Symons and Sheila Laxon, edges past Flashy Fella, second, Orientaped, third, and Gold Medals, fourth, to win the 2014 O’Connors Case IH Warracknabeal Cup on Sunday afternoon. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

FIVE-YEAR-OLD gelding Royal Mephisto claimed victory in the $25,000 O'Connors Case IH Warracknabeal Cup at Warracknabeal Racecourse on Sunday.

Trained by John Symons and Sheila Laxon and ridden by jockey Roger Booth, Royal Mephisto saluted a length ahead of the Michael Moroney-trained Flashy Fella.

Last year's Warracknabeal Cup winner, Orientaped, finished a further length back in third.

Warracknabeal Racing Club president Lance Huebner said Royal Mephisto's win was a great story.

"Three starts back in December at Moonee Valley he won a race and on pulling up he developed a serious leg problem," he said.

"The track staff put the screen around him and thought he might have to be euthanised.

"John Symons wanted a second opinion and it wasn't as bad as they thought, so they gave him this spell from December and in his second start back he's won the Warracknabeal Cup."

The day was also a triumph for a host of Wimmera trainers and jockeys.

Former Stawell jockey Jack Hill rode four winners, combining with Stawell trainers Terry and Karina O'Sullivan for a double.

Horsham jockey Holly McKechnie and Horsham trainer Paul Preusker also joined forces for a pair of wins.

Darren Weir-trained six-year-old Puissance De Lune enjoyed an exhibition gallop at the meeting.

It was his first public appearance since suffering an injury in last year's Cox Plate.

Warracknabeal has picked up another race meeting on Tuesday, with a Horsham meeting transferred after the track was deemed unsafe on Monday because of recent rain.

Huebner said Weir had discussed possibly bringing Puissance De Lune back for another run at the course.

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