Garry McCarney admits a non-TAB meeting at Wellington on Boxing Day is not usually the kind of place a country cup campaigners emerges from, but he’s got a feeling feeling about Mochine Gun.
It was a vastly improved and matured Mochine Gun which was on show at Wellington Jockey Club on Wednesday, the gelding scoring a convincing win in the Maiden Plate (900m).
Trained at the track by McCarney, the five-year-old went into the Boxing Day meeting without a placing in four career starts but a five-month spell and a whole lot of hard work has created a change in of fortunes.
“He’s had a good break. (My nephew) Troy (McCarney) did a lot of work with him during the winter,” McCarney said.
“He’s educated him and knocked the stuffing out of him a bit and got him on the straight and narrow.
“He’s become a racehorse now.”
Mochine Gun’s first four starts came under the training of Troy as Garry was still serving 15-month suspension for cobalt use at that time.
The veteran trainer is back in control now and feature events at the Wellington Boot carnival in April could await,
McCarney already had an eye on bigger races despite Mochine Gun not having a win before Wednesday.
The best result Mochine Gun had previously recorded was a seventh-placed finish at Coonamble in June, but the trainer had plenty of faith.
“It was about time and it’s all come together and the way he’s been going we expected that (win),” he said.
“He’s going to be a cup horse. Coming from this meeting here, you might not think that but he’ll go on to do it.”
Mochine Gun jumped a $7 chance of Wednesday in the sprint event and after getting into a strong position early on was primed to strike.
The Justin Stanley-trained Alexandra Demure ($3) also threatened while $2.50 favourite Saahirah soon began to fade.
But it was Mochine Gun who finished better than anyone else while another McCarney hope in the race, Unomore ($10), also ran home well.
Mochine Game won by a half length from Marpenny ($3.50) while Unomore came home third.
“It was a good run and a good ride. I’m not going to tell Daniel that but it was a good ride,” McCarney joked.
The annual Boxing Day meeting, in front of another healthy festive crowd, was a good one for hometown trainers.
As well as McCarney getting a win, Leslie Bryant scored a double.
Another stalwart of the racing scene, Bryant scored victories with Dazzling Grey and Bounty Belle.
Dazzling Grey took out the day’s first event, the Maiden Plate (1700m).
The crowd was surprised to see the field coming around the bend for home with some early sound system issues meaning there was no call from racecaller Col Hodges, but it was still clear to see Dazzling Grey ($8) win by a half length.
“I had a lot of horse under me. It was a lot different today, he jumped,” winning jockey Shane McGovern said post-race.
Bounty Belle ($2.30 favourite, Jake Pracey-Holmes) then took out the Benchmark 50 Handicap (1400m).