Tough mudlark Save A Buck (blue and white silks) and jockey Raymond Spokes score a gritty win in today's feature Sawtell Cup which opens the annual Coffs carnival
Tough mudlark Save A Buck (blue and white silks) and jockey Raymond Spokes score a gritty win in today's feature Sawtell Cup which opens the annual Coffs carnival Leigh Jensen

Buck stops here for big double

OWNER-trainer Trevor Hardy has been presented with a glorious opportunity to win a Coffs Harbour Gold Cup after Save A Buck's courageous win in today's 1516m Tarraray Pet Retreat Sawtell Cup.

Ridden by Raymond Spokes, the gelding scored by the barest possible margin after a grim struggle across the line with Tuncurry visitor Tip Off.

Runners were back in the mounting yard before the judge's decision was announced but the miserable weather couldn't keep the win grin off the faces of trainer Hardy or his mud-spattered jockey.

The win puts the son of Secret Savings (USA) right into contention for the big race on August 2 after proving his liking for soft going.

"It was a great thrill to win the Sawtell Cup for the first time," Hardy said.

"Ray rode him to perfection and had the horse midfield as they came to the corner and then he moved up on the turn.

"In the straight he got three or four off the fence and really put in over the last little bit.

"Both horses went head-to-head over the last hundred (metres) and it was pretty exciting stuff.

"But he just got in and that's all it takes.

"He's a good horse, always honest and really tries his heart out."

For Spokes it was a red letter day with three winners on his home track.

The former premier rider spent a long period out of the saddle after injuring his shoulder and now looks set for a huge carnival.



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