FRESH off his success at Flemington with Surprise Baby, Horsham-based trainer Paul Preusker has claimed two of the three feature races at the Ararat Gold Cup on Sunday.
While Surprise Baby placed fifth in the Melbourne Cup, horses Stealthy Lucas and Marcel from Madrid took out respective first places in the Gold Cup 2000 metre and the Programmed China Bowl 1300 metre races.
True to his name, Stealthy Lucas seemed to materialize behind pack leader Tre Dieci right in that last stretch of the 2000 metres, sneaking through to claim the race by just 0.1L.
Preusker said it was a "funny feeling" watching the five-year-old horse come up on Tre Dieci.
"It was a good friend that won second and a good horse but we've all got a job to do," he said. "It's a funny feeling because you're hoping for them but you've got to hope for your owners too.
"It was a good race this year and a good tough finish. It's always good to win any race and it's always good to win a cup."
Marcel from Madrid won the Programmed China Bowl by 0.4L.
Owner Mark Hoare is based in Melbourne now but born and bred in Ararat, and said he was feeling pretty happy with Marcel from Madrid's performance.
"It's been a bumpy ride with this horse but he went somewhere today to renew our confidence in him," he said.
Hoare and the other owners bought the four-year-old as a yearling in 2015 and Preusker has been training him for 10 months.
"He won the Group 2 national stakes in Adelaide as a two-year-old and unfortunately developed some attitude problems and some health problems ... but a change of venue and a country lifestyle, he's now come back and he's a very relaxed horse," Hoare said.
"He's a group quality horse and he's won a Group 3. He should have won a listed race in Adelaide earlier in the prep and had no luck, so we'd like to see him through the group races."
The third feature race was the inaugural Jericho Cup qualifier Sir Brudenell White 3800 metre, which didn't feature a horse trained under Preusker.
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