A PLUM ride from apprentice jockey Teo Nugent saw Miss Damita take out the 150th Mortlake Cup on Saturday.
The five year-old scored an impressive victory in the $25,000 feature race, taking the lead at the 600 metre mark and storming clear to win by 3.25 lengths from Lindsey Smith’s Tysonic and Archie Alexander’s Barade.
It was the horse’s first country cups win for trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior and connections, with the mare rising from benchmark 64 grade last start to win at benchmark 78 level.
The victory took the horse’s career record to four wins, a second and four thirds from 16 starts and its career earnings to over $69,000 in prize money.
Trainer Matthew Williams, who looks after the mare at his Warrnambool stable via a partnership with Price and Kent Jnr, said connections were thrilled with the victory.
He said the horse had shown good improvement this campaign following a spell.
“She’s come back really good and her first two runs were really good, she ran second at Geelong and won a fillies and mares race at Kyneton so we thought she would improve on that,” he said.
“It was good for Peter Creighton, he’s the syndicator at United Syndications, he’s been a client of Mick Price’s for 20 years and is a really good fella, so it was good for them because a few of the owners were there on Saturday.
“Overall it was a good result.”
Williams said he could not fault Nugent’s ride on Miss Damita.
He said the apprentice placed the mare just off the leader’s back, which suited the horse to a tee given it is best suited to running in clear air and under its own steam.
He said from the 600 metres, Nugent lobbed up in front and gave the horse every chance to go on and record victory, which it did comfortably.
Williams said connections would now take Miss Damita to the city for its next run later this month.
He said he expected the mare to be fairly competitive in the same class once again, with its chances likely to be enhanced via Nugent’s two kilogram metropolitan claim if he is available for the ride.
“She’ll go to Sandown for a benchmark 78 for fillies and mares over 2100 (metres) on the 20th (of November),” Williams said.
“She’ll be pretty well placed there over that distance and against the same sex.”
Williams also said he enjoyed the day of racing at Mortlake, praising the racing club for the way the day catered for all ages.
In the remaining races, Anthony Freedman and Dean Holland combined to win the opening event, the 1600 metre maiden plate, by four lengths with three year-old gelding Alludere.
Holland was on the winning horse once again in the very next race, the 1300 metre Sungold Milk Maiden Plate, this time with Symon Wilde’s mare, That’s Our Girl, which won narrowly from Miss Charlee Lyn.
Wilde scored himself a training double in race three, the 1100 metre Mortlake Roadhouse Maiden Plate, when Teo Nugent guided Bombshelle Belle to a two and a half length win over Predicated.
Telemarketer, with Neil Farley on board, swooped the field in the 1100 metre Mortlake Premix Concrete benchmark 58 handicap (race four) to score its third career win for trainer Julie Scott.
Eight year-old gelding Hadda Couple took out race five, the 2000 metre Allied Trades benchmark 58 handicap, for trainer Kelly Dufty, with apprentice Fred Kersley piloting the horse home.
And in the last event of the day, the 1300 metre Te Mania Angus benchmark 52 handicap, Staghorn scored a 3.25 length victory for trainer Chris Oxlade and jockey Jarrod Fry.