OUTSTANDING: Rebecca Hill, daughter of trainer Bruce Hill, gets a cuddle from Bodega Negra after winning the South Grafton Cup. INSET: Bodega Negra on his way to victory.
OUTSTANDING: Rebecca Hill, daughter of trainer Bruce Hill, gets a cuddle from Bodega Negra after winning the South Grafton Cup. INSET: Bodega Negra on his way to victory. Adam Hourigan

Wet track hero Bodega Negra wins South Grafton Cup

RACING: Bodega Negra could chase a second Coffs Harbour Cup after the Gold Coast gelding raced away with yesterday's $50,000 Grafton Toyota South Grafton Quality Cup.

The Bruce Hill-trained eight-year-old gelding led and raced away from his opposition to beat fellow Gold Coaster American Diva with Port Macquarie-trained Cogliere third.

7 - Bodega Negra is eased to the line to win the South Grafton Cup.
7 - Bodega Negra is eased to the line to win the South Grafton Cup. Adam Hourigan

A son of Hidden Dragon, Bodega Negra has now won 10 of his 91 starts, including the 2016 Coffs Cup, with six wins on soft or heavy tracks.

"He loves a wet track,” said Hill, who has trained him for all his 91 starts.

"Been a great old horse for me. He always competes and always thereabouts.”

While he's won 10 races, the gelding has also been placed another 13 times and won more than $524,000 in prizemoney.

He's also easy to pick out because of his distinctive style of racing with his head almost touching the ground.

"You've got to work him hard because he's a very good doer,” Bruce Hill added.

"Jon (Grisedale) rode him a treat. He always races in the first four and loves the wet tracks. I just asked him to go forward .”

Hill said he might now look at the Thursday, August 1 Coffs Harbour Cup.

Originally from Victoria, Hill moved to Queensland and was stable foreman for Gerald Ryan for 10 years before Ryan returned to Sydney and he branched out on his own.

He won a Grafton Cup a few years back with Warrior Within and today's success reinforced his liking for the spacious CRJC track.

"Days like today make it all worthwhile,” he said.

Grisedale agrees. The 55-year-old jockey, originally from Sydney, moved to Coffs Harbour with wife Donna, who is a trainer, three months ago.

"Love it,” he said.

He loves Bodega Negra now too after the gelding carried him to his second South Grafton Cup win.

"Won the South Grafton Cup with Lockmar,” he said of a 2009 success with a Sydney horse trained by the late Frank Gardner.

Apprenticed to Bede Horan at Rosehill 39 years ago, Grisedale was delighted with his first ride for Bruce Hill.

There is also the chance he might win his home town cup on August 1 if Bodega Negra contests that $150,000 feature.

"That would be nice,” Jon Grisedale said.

What was also nice was his effort aboard the chestnut gelding. "Bruce said to have him forward, he jumped very well and led easily. When he straightened and kicked I knew he'd be hard to beat.”

Jon, who has won a number of Country Cups such as Bathurst and orange ahs ridden over 1200 winners in his career and hopes Coffs harbour is just another chapter in a long and successful career.

"We do love it there but it rains a lot,” he added.

Just what Bodega Negra loves too.



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