A decision by jockey Natasha Baxter to bypass a meeting in Victoria on Saturday not only enabled Southern Gamble to start in the Doug Allen Memorial Grenfell Picnic Cup, but also win it
Seymour-based Baxter, aged 24, was due to ride at Healesville near Melbourne but answered a call to ride at Grenfell when several horses including Southern Gamble were going to be late scratchings due to a jockey shortage.
Collins Street established a good lead in the 1400m cup with Southern Gamble racing in a handy position to the home turn.
Completing a hat-trick after recent wins at Crookwell and Cootamundra, the Doug Gorrel-trained Southern Gamble ($3) took the lead and won by more than two lengths from Salerno (Ricky Blewitt, $5) and Dream On Stan (Jody Hughes, $7).
It was a highlight for Gorrel but there was no joy at Grenfell for Dubbo trainer Darren Hyde.
Hyde was at the picnics when a week earlier he had been racing at the $500,000 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick.
He had Tennessee Pasha just miss out to hugely popular Balance Accountants and South West Tractors sponsored Sweet Lauraine Class 2 Handicap (1200m) winner, My Girl Grace.
The grandstand rocked when a big syndicate of owners from Bathurst began cheering for the Roy McCabe-trained My Girl Grace.
Leading for home, My Girl Grace (Ricky Blewitt, $4) held on to win by a length from Tennessee Pasha (Rowena Dillon, $3.20 favourite).
Hyde also had Dawn Assault finish sixth in the Terry Bros/Landmark/Ausure Maiden Plate (1200m).