Bodega Negra wakes up in time to clinch Cup
HALF way through the Carlton MID 2016 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup, winning jockey Chad Lever wasn't even sure his mount was going to be among the action let alone be a winning chance.
"He ended up with a lovely run but probably at about the half mile he was off the bridle a little bit. He relaxed a bit too well," Lever said.
"But it's like he knew where the 600 was. He picked up and travelled really good then and the horse in front wasn't going all that flash and I was travelling really well.
"So I thought I'd just amble along and wait until we got well into the straight before I went for him."
When Lever did ask for the extra effort, the Hidden Dragon gelding went from the fourth position he was settled in to the lead in a matter of a few bounds as top-weight and race leader Dylan's Rojo and Shadow Rein gave way to the pressure coming from behind.
The six year-old was unchallenged in the straight and looked the winner a long way from home.
The final margin of three-quarters of a length to the locally trained Kareem's Edge was more of a comment on how quickly the Paul Smith-trained five year-old finished rather than any weakness from the winner.
"The last little bit he was just looking at the crowd and looking all around the place," Lever said of the closing stages.
This was the first time the young jockey had ridden at Coffs Harbour and he admits the big win leaves a strong impression.
"If I keep getting results like that we'll be back."
COFFS HARBOUR GOLD CUP RESULT
1st 7 - Bodega Negra (Trainer: Bruce Hill Jockey: Chad Lever)
2nd 12 - Kareem's Edge (Trainer: Paul Smith Jockey: Raymond Spokes)
3rd 10 Egyptian Ruler (Trainer: Ken Lantry Jockey: Andrew Gibbons)
4th Sofin (Trainer: Shannon Fry Jockey: Ben Looker)