Wellington galloper Athena's Lad made light work of the jump from Class 3 company to open company when it took out the 2022 Cowra Lamb Cowra Cup (1700m) on Sunday.
A good winner at Gilgandra last start where he was left in front a long way from home, Athena's Lad's Cowra win has taken its record to six wins from just 13 starts.
Winning jockey Jake Pracey-Holmes said pre-race he intended to ride the five year-old Albrecht gelding closer than its normal racing pattern with the Cowra track favouring on pace runners.
"I think he's a nice horse," Pracey-Holmes said.
The early stages of Sunday's race went to plan with Pracey-Holmes placing the race favourite fifth on the rail before angling away from the heels of the leaders Silverhawk (Clayton Gallagher, $8.50) and Zariz No Other (Molly Bourke, $26) on the home turn.
The move proved a winning one with Athena's Lad getting clear running to defeat another Mulholland galloper, Lord of the Turf (Richard Bensley, $9), by a head.
It was an impressive showing from Lord Of The Turf given he was backing up after a win at his home track just two days prior.
Napoleon Solo (Jordan Mallyon, ($13) was a half length away in third with the Peter Stanley trained Not Negotiating, (Ashleigh Stanley, $5) an unlucky fourth, one length away, after being held up for a run when angling for a rails run.
It was the latest feature win for Mulholland in what has been a golden couple of years.
He's previously won some of the biggest events on the calendar at western venues like Dubbo, Wellington, Parkes, Forbes and Orange while there's been plenty of other victories in between.
Many of the wins have come with horses discarded by other trainers or those who had arrived at his stables with very meagre records.
The day's other feature, the Breakout River Meats Cowra Japan Cup (1200m), saw Westlink return to some of his best form for Dubbo trainer Darren Hyde.
The Scott Collings-trained Goulburn galloper Bombdiggity (Jackson Searle, $5.50) was a game second after blowing the start with Oriental Runner (Richard Bensley, $6.50) third for Queanbeyan's Tony Sergi.
Back to his best after excellent form mid last year that saw him finish fifth in the Listed Gold Coast Goldmarket last May, Westlink ($4.80) was given time to find his feet over the Cowra 1200.
Jockey Nick Heywood settled him sixth on the rails behind Cowra flyer Just A Flash before angling clear on the turn to record a comfortable win over the Bombdiggity.
Winning trainer Darren Hyde said an open handicap at the end of January is next on the program for seven-year-old Westlink before another campaign in Queensland.
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