It’s a time-honoured event but in all the years of the Forbes Cup there’s hardly been a more popular winner than Gentleman Max.
Wagga trainer Trevor Sutherland claimed his first Forbes feature on Monday, with the tough Gentleman Max holding off a late onslaught from defending champion Zarlu to claim the $30,000 feature.
A huge roar, mainly from those who made the trip with the Bankstown Sports Club – the Cup’s major sponsor – greeted Gentleman Max and jockey Allan Chau when they returned to the yard.
“They’re having a good day, all the boys here,” the jockey told Sky Thoroughbred Central post-race as chants of “Chau-ie” rang out.
“I want to thank Trev and the owners for sticking with me lately and it’s great we can get some results.”
Sutherland was as equally delighted after seeing his gelding win in what was his sixth start in a month.
Gentleman Max ($5.50) won by a neck from the fast-finishing Zarlu ($10) while Dubbo trainer Justin Stanley had to settle for third with Something Borrowed ($7).
“He enjoys racing and he’s a funny horse,” Sutherland said, all smiles for the cameras.
“He gets filthy if I leave him at home and gets dirty on me and he gets really grubby.
“He enjoys it and does very well between runs … young Al is riding good and they click together pretty well.”
Gentleman Max didn’t have it all his own way but as the field approached the bend in the 1600m feature he found space and took the lead from Our Sarastro ($11), trained at Dubbo by Connie Greig.
Zarlu had sat last for much of the journey and appeared little chance while Kody Nestor and Something Borrowed had also moved from the tail of the field to challenge Chau.
But the hoop got five-year-old Gentleman Max to kick and despite Zarlu coming home like a freight train he held on.
Pre-race favourite Leucura ($3.10) was fourth but never really in the race.
It made it a race-for-race double for Sutherland and Chau after they took out the City of earlier Sydney RSL Benchmark 59 Handicap (1400m) with Hangin’ With Willy ($11).