At his hometown meeting and before a big crowd, trainer Brett Thompson landed the quinella in the Oatley Fine Wine Gulgong Cup (1200m) on Sunday and both horses were ridden by jockeys formerly from England.
More Than Art (Billy Cray, 10) led most of the way to score by a length-and-a-half from the more favoured stablemate Attalea (James Rogers, $3.80) with two lengths to Desert Marshal (Luke Cumberland, $8), the winner of the Gulgong feature last year.
At the Cup presentation, Thompson made special mention of John ‘Ripper’ Currie, a part-owner of More Than Art, who has volunteered to care for the Gulgong track and helped the trainer with his large team of horses throughout the year.
Thompson, a multiple premiership winning trainer, had earlier supplied the first three placegetters in the Maiden Plate (1000m).
Named after Thompson’s granddaughter, Marley Girl (Alena Skerritt) was backed from $8 to $4.20 before leading throughout to win by nearly four lengths from Brimondo (Billy Cray, $5) and Starlight Treaty (James Rogers, $5).
The win was part of a hugely successful day for Sydney-based apprentice Skerritt.
A regular visitor to the Central West, Skerritt rode the winners of the first three races at Gulgong on Sunday.
After opening the day with victory onboard Oneoverfore ($9) for Dubbo trainer Garry Lunn before saluting with Thompson’s Marley Girl and I’m A Prima Donna ($10) trained by Samantha McDonald.
Winner of the Grenfell Picnics and Quambone Picnics, the Sharon Jeffries-trained Armedanddangerous (Tiffany Jeffries, $4.40) again set the pace when winning the Class 2 Handicap (1200m) from Poet’s Spirit ($3.70) and Beale Street ($3.20 favourite).
The day’s other winner was the Zaphod ($5), from the Narromine stables of Kylie Kennedy, who was ridden to victory by Ken Dunbar in the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1800m).