PROMISING four year-old stayer Pelonomena rose to the biggest win of its short career on Sunday when it took out the $70,000 Sungold Milk Terang Cup.
The mare delivered trainer Mitch Freedman and jockey Jye McNeil their maiden Terang Cup victories with a short head win over race favourite Golden Authority and Settler’s Stone.
Freedman credited his stable staff and owner John Richards for Pelonomena’s success.
“The horse is going terrific, the staff has done a great job and it’s great to have some success with John Richards,” he said.
“She had a really good win, she had to be tough there the last little bit, obviously that horse taking off mid-race really put some pressure into the race.
“They let it go for a while and then on the corner they sort of thought they let it go too far.
“She had to be tough, Harry Coffey’s horse really kicked away but she dug in and really wanted to find the line.”
Instigator and Hursley, along with Super Haze, took up the early running but the race was blown wide open as the field entered the final 1000 metres.
Clayton Douglas moved his mount Beyond Thankful from midfield to the lead, opening up a five length margin due to the slow tempo at the 800 metres.
Douglas and Beyond Thankful continued to lead the field into the straight, but their gap was closed shortly upon straightening.
A wall of six horses led by Golden Authority and Pelonomena did the chasing over the next 200 metres, with the favourite hitting the front at the 200 metre mark.
But almost immediately Pelonomena mounted a challenge, with the pair battling it out over the final stages, with McNeil edging his horse in front in the shadows of the line to score victory.
McNeil was “stoked” with the win and said “she’s going to be a nice stayer because she relaxed so sweetly”.
“We had a beautiful run through them, Golden Authority gave us a nice cart into it,” he said.
“It tried really hard and Harry gave it a good ride but I was just able to track him and my girl was stronger over the last 50 metres.”
McNeil said there was still improvement to come from Pelonomena, particularly after knuckling down late in the event.
“At the same time she wanted to knuckle down she was peaking,” he said.
“She wanted to lay in and was getting tired, so there is still more improvement in her and she might be one to watch for the future.”
With the May Racing Carnival nearing, Freedman said he would now consider a run in the Warrnambool Cup but said the 2800 metre listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington on May 25 is her target.
“It’s in the mix,” he said.
“We were probably thinking the race on the Tuesday (of the May Racing Carnival) probably but she might head to the cup, we’re not 100 per cent sure yet.
“She’s going to be better when she gets out over further and we’ve got that Ramsden race in the back of our mind.
“She might not be classy enough but that’s what we’ve had her set for so we’ll just work out the best way to get her there.”
In the other races, John Sadler’s Sartorial Splendour won the two year-old handicap, while American Xpress saluted for Matt Laurie in the 1400 metre maiden.
Symon Wilde’s Ammoudi Bay won the 1200 metre maiden, Paul Preusker took out the Westmeath Handicap with Indian Thunder and Timor Gold won the 1600 metre benchmark 64 event for Jane Baker.
Mike Moroney closed the card with victory in the benchmark 70 1400 metre event with Eagle Ridge.
And the following day (Monday), Terang hosted gallops and jump-outs, with 49 runners participating in eight trials over 800 and 1000 metres.