Wagga trainer Scott Spackman wasn’t hiding his delight after his old stager, Black Fusion, claimed the feature event at Friday’s annual Lockhart Picnic Races.
The eight-year-old gelding started a $1.80 favourite in the $6500 Lockhart Ex-Servicemen’s Verandah Town Cup (1400m) and didn’t disappoint, claiming his third win for the stable.
“Over the moon, mate, for this old black horse,” Spackman said.
“He tries his guts out. We give him a bit of stick – we tell him he’s a bit of a cat sometimes, but he’s not really. He keeps trying.”
Jockey Toby Lake settled the horse at the rear of the field, which was reduced to six when Reka Outlaw was a late scratching after jumping through the barriers.
Trevor Sutherland’s topweight Benno’s Boy ($3.20) made the early running but was carrying 68.5kg and didn't get an easy time in front.
With about 200 metres to go, Lake was able to weave Black Fusion from last to first and then hang on to win by half-a-length from Victorian Crown ($5), trained by Russell Green, who was aiming for two Verandah Town Cups in succession. Benno’s Boy finished third.
“He was going to win easy but same old Black Fusion-style, he stopped and waited for them,” Spackman said.
“He can put in a real good race in good company and he can put in a shocker in bad company but thank God he was good enough today, and it was great for the owners (the Waters family, from Tumbarumba).”
It was a satisfying breakthrough after Black Fusion’s fourth in the Griffith Cup, second in the $50,000 Picnic Championship Final in Dubbo and a third in last week’s Cootamundra Cup.
It was also a return to his winning form of the autumn when he claimed the Boorowa Picnic Trophy Cup and the Leeton Cup on successive Saturdays.
“It’s awesome. You never get sick of winning Cups,” a smiling Spackman said.
“We whacked him in trying to get him ready for the Picnic Final at Dubbo again next year, so he picks up points today and he’s away and running.”
Spackman won a maiden at Lockhart in 2015 and also had a runner in the Cup, but was thrilled to win the feature on his second visit.
“It was a great day and a good crowd,” he said.
“These picnics, people just get to them. They love them. They’ve done a marvellous job, the committee.”
The picnics circuit moves to Young on Saturday and the Spackman stable will aim to make it two features in two days, with Lake to partner Malleable, who’ll carry 72 kilograms in the $5000 five-horse Burrangong Picnic Cup (1400m).
“He’s a new horse to the stable and he’s a big strong bugger,” Spackman said. “I thought about claiming but I’ve struck up a bit of a relationship with Toby Lake. And he’s a good rider.”
There are six races on the card at the Burrangong Picnic Race Day and $20,000 in prizemoney up for grabs. The first race is at 1pm, with the feature event at 4pm