BAT OUTTA HELL: Lane scores South Cup win in carnival debut
SOUTH GRAFTON CUP: Wyong galloper Mr McBat put a disastrous last start in the sodden Wauchope Cup in the past with a thrilling victory in the $50,000 Grafton Toyota South Grafton Cup (1610m).
For trainer Damien Lane it was the perfect way to cap off his first trip to the Grafton July Carnival as Mr McBat and jockey Jason Taylor stormed over the top of the field to win going away.
Lane said his aim at the South Grafton Cup started last month after Ben Looker guided the four-year-old to a comfortable win in the $25,200 Wingham Cup at Taree.
"It feels really good (to win the Cup), it is something we have planned for a little while now and it is always great when a plan pays off like that,” Lane said.
"Ben won on the horse in Taree two starts ago, and he stepped off it and said I'll win a South Cup on this horse. As it turned out he had to ride the topweight Sofin, but he had planted that seed.
"It had been in the back of my mind, but he had to show us he was worthy of the Cup run and he did that day at Taree.”
Mr McBat travelled to Coffs Harbour on Friday before Lane made the short journey on to Grafton yesterday morning.
Lane said the four-year-old by former Group 3 winner Krupt had travelled well for the carnival and all he needed was a good ride by Taylor.
"He ticked all the boxes and travelled up really well,” Lane said. "He had done really well, hadn't left a grain of feed and was really bright on himself.
"I thought he just needed some speed and a good ride and luckily he got both in the race.”
Taylor rode the gelding to perfection, holding steady at the tail-end of the field, before making a swooping run down the outside at the turn for home.
He had to hold off a late challenge from Grafton jockey Ben Looker on board $5 favourite Sofin while veteran hoop Robert Thompson rounded out the placings on Paul Murray-trained Darci's Affair.
Taylor went on to make it a South Grafton Cup Day double when he rode Madam Kate to victory for Terry Comerford in the last.
While she won by a clear three lengths, Madam Kate had to deal with a riderless horse at the post after Grafton jockey Matt McGuren had lost his mount.
It is understood that McGuren was not seriously injured in the fall. McGuren had ridden a winner earlier in the day when Todd Fletcher-trained Midweek Hussler broke maiden status.