Todd Howlett is no stranger to the Silver Goblet.
The Cessnock trainer has won Dubbo Turf Club’s two-year-old feature before in the past with Alley Miss and now he is hoping to repeat that effort with her progeny, Big Reg.
Big Reg, albeit while showing he was still a bit green, won on debut on Sunday, taking out the Silver Goblet Prelude (1100m) at Dubbo.
Howlett made the trip in a positive mood following the colt’s promising trial win on May 1 and Big Reg delivered, holding off Tracey Bartley’s Arrossire and a protest to score victory.
Big Reg ($2.80 favourite), ridden by Travis Wolfgram, took the lead at the top of the straight and despite some wayward galloping on his way home he was able to hold off the fast-finishing Arrossire and win by a short-head while Charsea’s Gift was a further three-and-three-quarter lengths back in third.
“It is nice to win one (first up) and he’s a nice little horse,” Howlett said.
“His mother won the Goblet a few years ago so we might try and come back and have a crack at that.
“We were pretty confident. It’s always tough with first starters but he goes pretty good.”
It was 2012 when Alley Miss after having run second in the Wellington Boot just a couple of months prior.
Big Reg is at a vastly different point in his career, having just the one trial before Sunday, and it showed as he veered left down the straight before Wolfgram reigned him in and got the job done.
“He shied a bit off the winning post but it was alright,” he said, before saying there is no concrete plans between now and the Silver Goblet on July 8.
“I’ll just see how he pulls up. It’s pretty hard with two-year-olds to get too far ahead of yourself so I’ll see how we end up."
Heartaches ($8), Bon Luck ($31) and Islamax ($8) all began the best while Big Reg sat not far behind.
That was the order as the field hit the bend for home but Wolfgram managed to get the rails run into the straight and soon hit the lead.
Paul King got Arrosire to move down the outside and he began to make ground on Big Reg, who almost veered well into the path of the Bartley-trained filly.
Bartley lodged a protest after the race but it was in vain as Big Reg, cheered on by a huge group of owners and connections, proved he will be one to watch in the main event in just under two months’ time.
It also continued a successful weekend for Howlett after he trained at double at Coonamble on Saturday.
“It’s always nice to get a winner so I hope we can keep it going,” he said.