Victory Lass just clung on to claim the Don Bartlett Memorial Bush Battlers Cup on Monday and owner Lee Mitchell thinks the mare had a little outside help in the latter stages of the race.
“Donny must have been looking down on us, I think, pushing her home,” Mitchell said after the victory.
The race is named in memory of former Inverell Jockey Club president Don Bartlett who was a close friend of Mitchell’s.
“It couldn’t have been any more special,” Mitchell said of Victory Lass’ win.
“The Bush Battlers Cup was in memory of a really good friend of ours. He’d be very proud of it.
“And to think a local person won his race, he’d be even happier, I think.”
Victory Lass is trained by Mitchell’s nephew Todd Payne who had the mare just right for the 1400-metre race.
“He’s done a wonderful job as a trainer. I’m very proud of him,” Mitchell said of Payne.
The six-year-old led the whole race and looked home down the straight before Clipaholic mounted a charge.
“I was just hoping and praying,” Mitchell said of the final stages of the race.
“When it was coming down the straight, I thought “we’ve got this’ because it loves to lead.
“Then I saw this grey one coming down the side I thought ‘oh no, we’re going to get pipped on the post’.”
However, Victory Lass clung on to win by 0.2 lengths over the fast-finishing Clipaholic trained by Bill Perrett.
Two and a half lengths back in third was Warwick Avenue.
The win was Victory Lass’ second in a week after winning on Boxing Day at Inverell.