CRAIG Martin celebrated a triple treat in his home town when Jefferson Park’s Elders Walcha Cup win highlighted the day for the Tamworth trainer, Walcha owner Jill Nivison and coastal jockey Peter Graham.
Graham timed his run perfectly to win aboard the four-year-old son of Dream Ballad, holding on to beat fast-finishing Master Of Darkness by a length with Walcha-owned Star Of Dubai a half head away third.
Graham admitted he had to go a little early on the chestnut gelding.
“I’d had a real good run but I didn’t want to get locked in,” Graham said of his move around 600m from home.
“He got going and finished well.”
It was his first Walcha Cup and owner Jill Nivison’s second after Jefferson Park’s half brother, Mt Rainier, had won the 2012 Walcha Cup in Armidale.
Walcha Jockey Club president Jim Nivison presented the Walcha Cup to his mother that day too.
“That was nice,” Nivison said.
‘But this was special for mum.
“Dream Ballad was her horse and he sired this bloke.
“Mum loves him (Jefferson Park) – since he was a foal.”
Martin also has a lot of time for a gelding who has now won eight of his 16 starts but he believes he hasn’t reached his best yet.
“I haven’t got him there yet,” Martin said.
“If he hadn’t have won at Armidale he wouldn’t be here today either.
“I will freshen him up now and take him to Brisbane for a race on March 8.
“But we will see how he goes.
“I was always going to back off him – I didn’t want to overcook him.
“He’s a very good horse.”
Martin celebrated his third Walcha Cup win yesterday after winning the 2007 Cup with Sirenese for Jill Nivison’s daughter Kate Nivison and then Mt Rainier two years ago.
Earlier in the day, he had won with Mafioso and then completed the big day by winning the Graziers Cup with Carnvon, a gelding who finished fourth in last year’s Ron Martin Maiden, but one he also races with wife Sharon.