The Anthony Freedman stable continued it’s love affair with Wagga after capturing another feature race at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Sunday.
High Mode ($2.60) relished every bit of the 3800 metres to take out the $25,000 Ron Crouch Transport 2018 Riverina Cup.
The five-year-old broke through for his second career victory and will now take his place in the $300,000 Jericho Cup at Warrnambool in December.
High Mode, who was ridden superbly by Shaun Guymer, scored by 1¾ lengths from the Trevor Sutherland-trained King Of Sting ($11.00). Defending champion Thunder Road ($3.30) was another eight lengths back in third place.
Anthony Freedman has now won four races from five starters at Wagga in the past two years, including the 2017 Wagga Town Plate with Santa Ana Lane.
Freedman’s racing manager Brad Taylor was pleased to see the plan come off with High Mode.
“It was a very good win. We always knew the distance wasn’t going to be an issue and he proved that,” Taylor said.
“Even through the line, it took Shaun until the 1200 metres to pull him up.
“That is why we picked out the race and he’ll head to the Jericho Cup now because the extra distance is not going to be an issue.
“We were rapt with the win, it’s nice to have a plan come off that’s been a couple of months in the making.”
The $300,000 Jericho Cup (4600m) will be run on December 2 at Warrnambool. It is for Australian and New Zealand bred horses only and has six qualifying races across Australia, of which the Riverina Cup at Wagga is one.
High Mode will be sent to the paddock for a month before returning to target the Jericho Cup.
“He’ll go to the paddock (on Monday) for a month, come back and have a couple of runs before the Jericho Cup,” Taylor said.
“It’s a good concept.”
Meantime, $4.60 favourite Melberra Star proved too good in the highly-competitive Commins Hendriks SDRA Winter Handicap (1400m) at Wagga on Sunday.
Trained by Luke Pepper and ridden by Kayla Nisbet, Melberra Star unleashed a powerful sprint to take out the heat of the SDRA Winter Series by one length.
Bank On Henry ($9.00) ran on for second, while Man Of Peace ($5.50) boxed on well from in front to hold on for third place.
It was back to back wins for Melberra Star after winning at Moruya last start.
The other supporting feature also went to Canberra with Miss Liffey ($9.50) returning to form with a win in the Sound Fits 2018 Wagga Whiz (1000m).
Miss Liffey was aided by a lovely patient ride from Richard Bensley and finished strongly to score her first since since December last year.
Corowa’s Geoff Duryea was the only Southern District trainer to enjoy success with Dottledo ($2.60) taking out the Harvey Norman Maiden Handicap (1600m).
Rebeka Prest was the winning jockey.