KYNETON-based trainer Mick Sell has claimed his first Procal Dairies Gunbower Gold Cup after taking horses to the annual meet three or four times in recent years.
But on Saturday his mare Penny To Sell was full of running in the $20,000 race over 1800m, winning by almost two lengths.
As delighted as he was with the win it did prove a little frustrating for Sell, who had opted to take horses to the Murtoa races while his wife Mel was in charge of the team at Gunbower.
He is something of a country cups specialist – in recent years that has included cups at Kilmore, Burrumbeet, Penshurst and Manangatang – so missing the latest for his trophy shelf took a little bit of the gloss from the day.
“We didn’t set her for the cup but after her win over 2000m at Ballarat it suddenly shaped as a good option,” Sell said.
“I do tend to pinpoint the country cups as they suit our horses,” he said.
“After Penny’s performance here and in her last two starts I will start looking for another cup race that works for her.”
Penny To Sell has now had six wins from 38 starts and won $125,926 – a good return for a filly Sell bought for $20,000 in New Zealand and syndicated back in Australia.
The Pentire-sired six-year-old is bred for distance and Sell expects to start stretching her out in future starts.
The British bred stallion now stands at Rich Hill Stud in New Zealand and has had an outstanding record of breeding winners.
“Chris Nicoll rode her at Gunbower, he does a lot of track work with us, but Craig Robertson has ridden her the most, recently,” Sell said.
“Penny is one of those tough mares, she has had 10-12 starts this preparation and is still full of running so I will just have to see how she keeps coming up,” he said.
“We also had Ponbar Finale in the last race at Gunbower and he ran a solid race to finish fifth and I would expect him to be a good chance at his next start.”
He said he was already looking at Echuca’s Melbourne Cup day meeting as he is something of a regular at the track here.
“I go to Echuca a lot, I had a winner on your Melbourne Cup day a couple of years ago and would be happy to get another one this year.”
Sell wasn’t the only winner on the day.
Jockey Jason Benbow rode a double, winning the $12,000 Ellwaste Handicap over 1100m and then backing up in the next race – the $12,000 bet365 Handicap over 1300m – to win on Shy Frank.