Shelton notches career first with flying win
RACING: Game six-year-old Belflyer brightened up a gloomy afternoon for his connections when he dug deep to notch a second consecutive Warwick Credit Union Warwick Cup (1500m) victory at the weekend.
Belflyer handed experienced Grafton trainer John Shelton a career first with a strong finishing effort in the 157th running of the Allman Park feature for jockey Ben Looker.
The $2.80 favourite reeled in runner-up Rhyme Nor Rhythm ($2.90) inside the final 100 metres to score by 3/4 length.
Zip To The Moon ($11) held on solidly to be 1 1/4 lengths back third after leading the field into the home straight.
Belflyer won last year's Warwick Cup for Toowoomba trainer Neville Petersen and on the urgings of his owners Shelton was happy to give the in-form gelding his shot at back-to-back features.
"This is the first time I've been here (Allman Park)” said Shelton, who trains a 20-horse team at his Turf St stables.
"But the owners said after he won the race last year they were keen for him to come back and I'm happy to be here.”
Belflyer joined Shelton mid-year and has since racked up four wins and a second placing from six starts for the stable, including his victory in last month's Moree Cup.
"He's a lovely horse and he's done a good job today with 59.5kg,” Shelton said.
"I think the way he is going, he can win in town now.”
Rhyme Nor Rhythm lost few admirers with his fighting second in his first outing beyond 1200 metres.
"It was just that last bit the winner got the better of him,” the five-year-old's trainer Linday Hatch said.
It proved to be a winning day for Shelton, who was also awarded his fifth consecutive Grafton trainers premiership at the Clarence River Jockey Club's Horse of the Year awards that night.
To find out more about all the winners from the CRJC's night of nights pick up The Daily Examiner on Tuesday.