CLEVER Hans returned to racing in dynamic fashion yesterday winning the $15000 Summer Cup at (1209m) at Coffs Harbour.
The Leon Davies-trained six-year-old gelding had not raced since winning the October 7 Coonamble Cup (1600m) and strode to a ninth career win for his Tamworth trainer.
Apprentice Cassie Schmidt rode the son of Viscount and her 1.5kg claim brought him into the race with 59kg.
Clever Hans had raced at Coffs Harbour just the once before, finishing second to Pepperwood in the 1600m Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) back in August.
He then ran second in the Moree Cup to Poor Judge and third to Southern Shimmer in the Dubbo Cup before winning the Coonamble Cup and then spelling for a short while.
Davies, who trained a double at Tamworth on Friday, was pleasantly surprised by the way his gelding pulled up after his first-up win from a short break.
“I was surprised by how well he finished the race off,” Davies said yesterday.
“She (Schmidt) rode him a treat. Only got there by a half neck. He’s having a good blow now though.”
Davies is now hoping to run him in the Quirindi and Armidale Cups.
“There’s a 1300m at Scone in a couple of weeks’ time,” he said.
“We’ll run him there then go to Quirindi (1600m) and then Armidale (1900m). But that also depends on what weight he gets and how high his benchmark rating is. I’m not going to keep on running him around with 60kg on his back, I’d rather retire him. But we will also see how he pulls up as well.”
He said his success was thanks to a number of other people including apprentices Taylah Gray and Sarah Curtis with him and the rest of the thoroughbreds in work.
“Just want to thank all my staff for their hard work,” he said.
Meanwhile out at Gilgandra Scone trainer Luke Griffith finished with a double on Gilgandra Cup day.
While Greg Ryan won his ninth Gilgandra Cup on the Troy Hall-trained Freton, arriving in the final stride to beat Scone-trained Prior Baron (Rod Northam), Griffith won the $17,000 Gilgandra Town Plate with Sugera and a support race with I Love Legs.
Six-year-old Sugera, a $2.40 favourite, won for the 10th time when she beat second favourite, Dragons Keep, by three quarters of a length.
It was a good day for Muswellbrook trainers too with Jeff Englebrecht, who also had a winner at Tamworth on Friday producing Power Shot to win the Royal Hotel Class 3 Handicap (1600m). A few races later and Troy Hall snared the Cup with race favourite Freton, who had finished a narrow second to Mafioso at Tamworth on Christmas Eve.