AS Better Be Donna posted her first win on Australian soil on Sunday for The Lagoon trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull, her tough effort gave an indication that more success is likely to follow.
The New Zealand bred filly faced the breeze in the death seat before working to the lead in the home straight to win the Peak Hill Ex Services Club Final (1,800 metres) at Peak Hill’s Carnival of Cups meeting.
The three-year-old won by a neck in just her second start for Turnbull, holding off a late kick from Rock Bottom ($4.80, Jason Turnbull), who had led for a majority of the $10,200 feature.
“She’s funny like that, she’s a bit green and won’t hit the front, so I sort of had to wait as long as I could,” Turnbull said after saluting with the $2.10 favourite.
“She’s always shown that she’ll be pretty tough. She lacks a bit of high speed, but she’ll keep whacking away.”
The final two splits for the last mile – 27.6 and 28.9 seconds – were handy, but Turnbull thinks she can go quicker than her 1:57.0 effort.
“With her gate speed, she can run a good mile. But that’s such a different track, it’s harder on her, so that’s probably why she toughed it,” she said.
That was the first leg of a winning double for Turnbull’s team, with Our Positano taking out the Drivers Invitational (2,250m).
Kasey Hocking did the job with Turnbull’s $2.20 favourite, guiding the four-year-old three-wide during the middle stages after going from barrier nine.
He went on to win by a comfortable 8.4m, continuing his good run of form since moving from New Zealand.
The Bettors Delight x Kelly Maguire gelding has now notched up five wins and two second placings from seven starts.
“It was good to see him win, he’s a nice horse and she drove him well,” Turnbull said.
“Nathan [Turnbull] drove him first up and I hadn’t got off him til now. He’s probably going to get ready for another series like that now, I just wanted to see how he’d go in that one. He went good.
“He had a fair few starts in New Zealand, he won three races over there. He’s well-bred actually, so hopefully he can keep going well for me.”