BMK 65 HCP: Grafton trainer Wayne Lawson's quest for redemption came to a fitting conclusion last week as stable newcomer Dominant Crown charged past the post to be the battling trainer's first win since the 2016 XXXX July Carnival.
The four-year-old gelding made short work of a tough Class 2 field at Armidale last week to put a smile back on the face of the trainer and bring his 12-month ordeal to a final close.
Lawson had the book thrown at him by Racing NSW stewards after stable champion Stella's Chance returned a swab positive for cobalt. Lawson, who has professed his innocence all along, spent 12 months on the sidelines looking in so it was a great end to a tale of redemption last week.
Ridden by Matt McGuren, Dominant Crown started a well-supported favourite in the Class 2 1100m. The son of Husson settled in the second half of the field and never really looked comfortable on the undulating track.
However once heads were turned for home McGuren headed for the centre of the track and once the gelding balanced up nicely he proved over the final 200m to be far too strong for his rivals, sprinting away to win with plenty in reserve.
It was a thrilling win for many of Lawson's long-term supporters and the trainer will look to make it two on the bounce when mature gelding Blackboard Special aims to bounce back from a tough last in the Jacaranda Cup with a run in The Daily Examiner Benchmark 65 Handicap at Grafton today.
Despite also recently returning from a one-year hiatus, and yet to find the form of seasons gone by, the gelding has still been saddled with a hefty 63.5kg.
It will make it hard for local jockey Craig Franklin as he navigates his way through heavy traffic from barrier six.
Stephen Phelps's mudlark Aquajewel (Ben Looker) looms as the biggest threat to Blackboard Special after claiming back to back wins at Ballina.
Paddy Cunningham's Love Me Baby could also be tough to beat after winning at Grafton last start.