Pepperwood wins 2012 Coffs Gold Cup
JOCKEY Danny Nikolic continued his love affair with Coffs Harbour after riding the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup winner Pepperwood.
Settling midfield it appeared the Easy Rocking gelding may have missed the chance for victory as a wall of horses led by Long Journey Home and Youthful Jack made their charge for the finish line shortly after turning for home.
Nikolic was the form jockey of the carnival though.
He'd ridden a hat-trick on Wednesday and already had another two winners under his belt by the time the Gold Cup started.
While the charge of the light brigade was on up front, Nikolic patiently sat midfield on the rail and waited for the chance to pounce.
Pre-race favourite Clever Hans hit the lead with 300 metres to go on the outside just as the opening Pepperwood and Nikolic were waiting for opened up on the inside.
With an estimated 8,500 racegoers cheering loudly, the eight year-old gelding quickly found another gear and raced to the lead leaving a one and a half length margin to Clever Hans to claim the $47960 in prizemoney.
Hopes of a local victory rested with the Brett Dodson trained Erinsea.
Punters backed the mare into third favourite but a big run late wasn't enough to claim the leaders. The six year-old finished in third position one and three-quarter lengths behind Clever Hans to edge out top weight Youthful Jack in a photo.
Pepperwood's part-owners Robert and Leanne Hood who own a quarter share in the victor were thrilled with the finishing burst and the victory.
During his acceptance speech in the presentation ceremony, Mr Hood told onlookers how special winning a Coffs Harbour Gold Cup was to him.
"We've been in Melbourne on Cup Day with this horse but I tell you what, winning this race is a bigger thrill," Mr Hood said.
Nikolic was thrilled with his second Coffs Harbour Gold Cup win after first winning two years ago on Mossurmi. He was also happy with his second hat-trick in as many days.
As were the punters who claimed the $6.80 price that the NSW TAB was paying.