Northern Rivers

Pork Cup winner as happy as a pig in ...

THERE were guffaws and light-hearted calls for an inquiry when Silver Mountain claimed the Booyong Pork Cup (1400m) at the Lismore Turf Club yesterday.

The man at the centre of the attention, Bangalow pig breeder John Singh, just simply stood in the middle grinning as his $5 chance took home the majority of the $10,000 prizemoney.

Singh has spent months helping organise the Northern Pig Breeders race day at Lismore, including organising sponsors. He even put in money for the Punjab Stud Handicap (1000m), the race before the Booyong Pork Cup.

So it was a great coincidence the horse that Singh owns claimed the feature race of the day that he was greatly responsible for organising.

“We were going to run him here two weeks ago but on that day it was too wet,” said Singh after the presentations.

“Today was very hot but Hunter Kilner (trainer) has got the experience to keep a horse cool and fit and that experience paid off today.

“But everyone should know that I am a pig breeder not a horse breeder.”

While Singh plays down his horse breeding credentials, the Bangalow farmer did go to some effort to produce Silver Mountain.

Queensland pig farmer, Michael Russo, supplied the mare Miss Freeze and Singh paid for the servicing fee to Monashee Mountain and reared the horse for a short while on his Bangalow property.

The gelding spent time in Brisbane being trained by Brad Maidment and then in Townsville under the eye of Garry Dickson.

Russo then sold out and Singh sent the horse to Grafton and Kilner.

Silver Mountain's record since heading south now stands at nine starts for three wins and four placings.

Jockey Marlon Dolendo, who rode the winner, has claimed two victories and two placings from four starts aboard the five-year-old.

Dolendo claimed a second win aboard Ferrazi in the Pork King/Coopers Shoot Maiden (1516m).

Irish Cross and Avissan claimed the minor placings in the feature race with favourite Train Wreck back in seventh.

Leading Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley, who claimed three winners yesterday, was aboard the Stephen Lee-trained Train Wreck in place of Fernleigh jockey Scott Seamer who had ridden the mare at Eagle Farm and Doomben previously.

Seamer had good reason to be absent as he was riding in New Zealand's richest race, the New Zealand Derby at Ellerlie, which he claimed aboard Coniston Bluebird.

Trained on the South Coast by Bede Murray, Coniston Bluebird claimed the $2.2 million race in a photo finish yesterday a day after bad weather hit Auckland on Saturday.

Seamer, who had claimed the Derby aboard Leica Guv in 2001, held his nerve to fight off Down the Road to claim the photo finish.

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