Winter Carnival of Cups: Cervinia wins Somerton Cup

POWER FINISH: Cervinia takes out the $20,000 Bective Station Somerton Cup Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600m) at Gunnedah on Thursday.

POWER FINISH: Cervinia takes out the $20,000 Bective Station Somerton Cup Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600m) at Gunnedah on Thursday.

CERVINIA led all the way to win Thursday’s $20,000 Bective Station Somerton Cup Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600m) at Gunnedah and might make another four-hour float trip to run in Sunday week’s Gunnedah Gold Cup.

The Damien Lane-trained five-year-old mare, who had won at Kempsey at her last outing, was ridden perfectly out in front by Matt McGuren to hold off Paul Perry’s Torquay for a neck win, with Scott Thompson’s top weight, Valatia, two-and-a-quarter lengths away third.

Cervinia returns to scales.

Cervinia returns to scales.

It was McGuren’s first Cup winner at Riverside although he did win a Lightning sprint at the track.

“She showed good speed out of the gates and was able to hold them off,” McGuren said.

“They tried to put the speed on around the back but she coped well.”

Cervinia has now won four of her 34 starts and has been racing in good style with no success at the provincials, Lane said.

“Since I’ve had her she’s hasn’t run too many bad races,” said the former Coonamble trainer who is now based at Wyong.

“Been running good races at the provincials, running placings and not getting beaten far.

“She was a bit of a concern today. Had 30 starts for just three wins so I didn’t know if she could win back to back after the Kempsey win the other day. But I will have to come back and give her a crack at the Gunnedah Cup (May 28) on that. Only problem is she might not get enough weight so Matt can ride her.”

In the last race at Gunnedah on Thursday, Iwatani returned to the winner’s list when the well-supported Tamworth gelding won the XXXX Gold Keith Swan Memorial Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m).

The Mark Hatch-trained four-year-old gelding son of Paco Boy carved out a length-and-a-quarter win over Paul Grills’ ill-fated Cliveden House, with Peter Mills’ Cocktail Time a length away third.

While Grills reported Cliveden House had broken down after the race, Hatch had no such worries with his chestnut flyer.

“He’s been a consistent horse,” Hatch said after the gelding’s third win in 13 outings.

“Had his little issues. His feet have been a problem but (his son) Zac has got on top of those.

“And this horse always tries.

“Just lucky to have owners like Kris (Thomas). He’s been a real good supporter over many years. If he wasn’t I probably wouldn’t be training.”

Thomas, a miner near Sarina in North Queensland, hails from Tamworth and has sent Hatch a number of winning horses over the years.

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