By Nick McGrath
The Country Championship continues to dish up remarkable racing stories. Dean Mirfin and Eleanor Webster-Hawes’s win with Cosmologist in Sunday’s Central Districts Racing Association heat at Mudgee is the latest unforgettable moment the series has produced.
From last year’s stunning run by Stoneyrise – a picnics runner and part-time stock horse – in the western heat to just last Saturday at Goulburn with Danny Williams, whose south-east qualifier champ Kopi Luwak nearly killed the trainer in a trackwork accident three years ago.
But Sunday’s heat at Mudgee is completely unique to both of those yarns. Mainly thanks to the conditions. The torrential rain enveloped the race course, reducing visibility greatly. An unflappable professional in every sense of the word, veteran racecaller Col Hodges could do little more than admit he had no idea who was leading the $150,000 race.
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AVE TURNS HEADS AT MUDGEE
By Alexander Grant
With a sublime rails run Eleanor Webster-Hawes took Bathurst mare Ave from last to first at Mudgee on Sunday. Ave ($6), trained by Don and Andrew Ryan, charged down the inside of the field in the closing stages of the $30,000 Benchmark 57 Handicap (1400m) to take the most lucrative win of her career.
Staggering and Raise A Drop surged almost three lengths clear with 600m to go and Ave was a length off the field in last.
As the field rounded for home the two leaders continued to charge on before Ambitious Prince and Iona Nicconi mounted challenges on their outside inside the final 200m.
But it was on the inside where the biggest charge was happening as Ave swept home with a perfectly timed run to beat Ambitious Prince by a length.
“I was thinking ‘today might not be the day’ but she was aided by a really good ride from Eleanor,” Andrew Ryan said.
“Mudgee is one of those tracks where you can afford to be a bit patient because of the longer straight.”
Click here to read the entire article - Ave turning heads with last-to-first performance