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Lord of Light wins Cooktown Cup

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Ricky Ludwig will now weigh up whether to send Lord of Light to Brisbane for a $200,000 race after the Tolga trainer added another Cup to his record at Cooktown. Given a “10 out of 10” ride by jockey Frank Edwards, the even money favourite was an easy winner of the 1760m feature event on Saturday, even if the margin was only a quarter of a length.

“He was always going to win, it was a beautiful ride from Frank,” Ludwig said post-race. “The leader (Whitterick) did a good job to stay on and make it a contest in the straight.”

With Rachel Shred in the saddle, Whitterick found the front but was pressured all the way by Sizzling Sun, who dropped out in the final stages to run a long last.

Meanwhile, Edwards was smoking his pipe on Lord of Light, sitting just behind them in a perfect spot off the speed. Edwards, who rode three winners at Cooktown, made his move at the 600m mark, giving the $2 favourite plenty of time to make his move.

While Whitterick kicked strongly in the straight, Lord of Light always had his measure. With a Cooktown Cup on his CV, the four-year-old gelding has qualified for a tilt at the $200,000 Queensland Country Cups Challenge at Doomben next month.

The winner receives $116,000, while second and third collect $37,000 and $18,000 respectively.

“The prizemoney is OK but the distance is a bit short for him,” Ludwig said. “Young apprentice Jasmine Cornish will ride him at Doomben.

“I’ve known her since she was born; she’s ridden the horse twice and she’s going really well since she got her metropolitan licence and she’s got a handy claim.”

Georgetown trainer Athol Ryan continued his good record at Cooktown with a winner in the opening race on the card, following two victories last year. Jockey Lacey Morrison showed her class aboard Ryan’s new addition, steering Racatoon ($2.30) to victory in the Maiden over 1000m.

Previously trained in NSW by the late Gwenda Markwell, Racatoon was having his first start for Ryan, who always keeps a couple of horses in work.

“We’ll see if we can find one more race for him before tipping him out for a spell,” he said. “It’s getting hot for the horses.”

Mackay trainer John Manzelmann was rewarded for his dedication with two winners on the program. With his partner, jockey Jade Doolan, by his side, Manzelmann had to leave Townsville on Wednesday to get to Cooktown, stopping in Ingham on the way.

While Doolan, still in her first year as an apprentice jockey, didn’t ride a winner, the stable still went home with $21,850 in prizemoney after a couple of wins and a handful of top-four finshes.

The most impressive winner was Mishani Rebound ($2.10), who led all of the way for jockey Bonnie Thomson in the Clive Gordon Memorial Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m). The three-year-old gelding was racing for the second time that week, having won on Cup day.

Manzelmann’s other winner was Devil ($1.70) in the Class B over 1000m, who led from go to woah for jockey Edwards. “It’s one of the highlights of the year and it’s good to be back after missing out last year,” he said after picking up the prize for the day’s leading trainer.

Tolga’s Allan Patterson enjoyed a winner when Toff Rocks ($3.20) saluted in the Benchmark 45 over 1290m. Kerry Rockett drove up for just one ride and produced a pearler to win on the veteran gelding.

Townsville trainer Terry McGovern picked up a winner with Tempo ($3.50) in the hotly contested Benchmark 65 (1290m). Edwards produced another great ride after jumping to the front and refusing to give up the rail, despite plenty of early competition.

Will the Cooktown races shift to a new date in 2023? That was the talk of the track on Saturday.

Cooktown Amateur Turf Club president Darryl Paradise said it was likely the club would request a September date next year.

“It should help us get a bigger crowd and a better field as it won’t be as hot,” he said.

“We got lucky with the weather today. It was overcast and breezy.”

See all the pictures from the event in the issue.

Cape York Weekly 8 November 2022

This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 8 November 2022.

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