Connections of Nepenthes face an anxious wait to see if their five-year-old mare makes the $50,000 Picnic Championship Final at Coonamble after an impressive win on Saturday at Wellington.
The top 12 point-scorers from races on the picnic circuit automatically qualified while a group of five, including Nepenthes, finished on the borderline just one point back.
Those will be waiting for any withdrawals in order to make the final, which is run over 1400m at the Coonamble Gold Cup meeting on October 10.
Patiently ridden by the Wellington-based Michael.T.Johnson on Saturday, Dubbo trainer Clint Lundholm's Nepenthes ($2.20 favourite) settled well back before finishing strongly to win the AG N Vet Class B Handicap (1600m) from Ballet Ticket (Leandro Ribeiro, $3.60) and the leader Babylon Warrior (Ricky Blewitt, $4.40).
A number of well-performed gallopers regularly seen at TAB meetings raced at Wellington Picnics, including the Sharon Jeffries-trained Risk And Reward, who won the Central West Auto Trophy Handicap (1400m).
Promising young rider Will Stanley from Bathurst had the job of keeping the big Parkes-based galloper well-balanced, and leading throughout Risk And Reward ($2 favourite) scored by over a length from Bandahara (Brent Evans, $4.40) and Equilibrium (Ribeiro, $5.50).
Evans is an extremely talented jockey and this was evident when he landed a winning double on Byzantium and Expect A Hero.
Trained at Mudgee by Bob Howe, Byzantium ($4) and Jarmanagic (Ricky Blewitt, $4) got past leader Attuned (Ribeiro, $2.20 fav.) and fought out the finish only for Howe's hope to prevail by a head in the Grand Hotel Trophy Handicap (1000m)
Suited by the 900 metres of the R & D Glass Class 3 Handicap, the Brett Robb-trained Expect A Hero ($2.10 fav.) led all the way when beating Lucky Champion (Anaelle Gangotena, $9) and Valerian (Blewitt, $2.80).
Bred by Lex Crosby from Forbes and raced by Lex and his family including Sally Crosby, Bec Carver, Josh Crosby and Heidi Holland, the five-year-old mare In The Mail at a fifth race start broke through to win the LSS Locksmith & Security Solutions Maiden Plate (1000m).
Trained at Cowra by Andrew Molloy, In The Mail (Michael Gray, $2.60) took the early lead and held on to beat Tiger King (Stanley, $5.50 ) and Eureka Miss (Evans, $6).
Red Letters, the dam of In The Mail, was also trained by Molloy and won races for Crosby but unfortunately died after having her only foal.
Brazilian born Ribeiro and Dubbo trainer Connie Greig have combined for numerous wins and at Wellington it was Brooklyn Star in the Wellington Sand & Gravel Class B Handicap (1100m).
Geesheehan, Rewarded Princess and Dissisoul vied for the lead approaching the home turn before Brooklyn Star ($2.50 fav.) swooped on the outside to beat Kiwicod (Stanley, $6.50) and Rewarded Princess (Blewitt, $10).