Leading Southern District trainer Mitch Beer captured his fifth Highway success on Saturday as Hardware Lane lived up to the hype with a dominant victory at Hawkesbury.
A number of Wagga owners were cheering as James McDonald guided Hardware Lane ($3.60 fav) to victory in the $100,000 TAB Highway Class Two Handicap (1100m).
McDonald was able to position Hardware Lane in a nice position just behind the leaders and the three-year-old let down nicely in the straight to win by three lengths running away.
It was Hardware Lane's second career win at start number seven.
Beer has always held a high opinion of the Scissor Kick gelding was rapt to see him back up his opinion.
"He's a quality horse. I've always really loved him and I've just had no luck," Beer told Sky Racing after the race.
"Thanks to a terrific, patient ownership group. He is only three but we took him to a good race at Moonee Valley at the end of last prep and really thought he could win and he jarred up terribly.
"He's taken a while to come right but we wanted to run him through winter and he's got a fair amount of ability."
Hardware Lane's appreciation for rain-affected tracks means he is likely to give connections a good ride through the winter months.
He was scratched from a Highway at Randwick a fortnight ago with a temperature and the decision to remain patient paid off for Beer and connections.
Still only a class two horse, Beer said he will keep his eye out for more Highway options down the track.
"He's only a class two horse and he's BOBs, so he picks up a really good bonus," he said.
Not only are there a number of Wagga and Albury punters in the ownership of Hardware Lane, the horse carries the colours of prominent breeder Carl Holt.
Holt is the owner of Zaaki and Lost And Running, among others, and decided to buy into Hardware Lane with Beer.
"It's terrific, it's a really great bunch of owners," Beer said.
"Not only at home in Albury...but to train a winner for Carl Holt, who this is first horse he jumped in in the stable. He just randomly text me one day and I said you better go in this one, it's going alright, to repay his faith, Carl and Lorraine, is terrific.
"The crew, a few have come up from Albury and Wagga, so I think we'll be going home (Sunday)."
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Last-start Wagga winner Who But Roo ($9.00) finished in third, while Nick Heywood finished seventh on the Scott Collings-trained Extravagent Lad ($8.50).
Meantime, Wagga trainer Cindy Browne enjoyed an impressive quinella at Leeton's non-TAB meeting on Saturday.
Browne took two horses to the race and they finished one-two in the $10,000 Yenda Producers Benchmark 50 Handicap (1050m).
Backwater Trader ($6.00) managed to get a run as the first emergency and did the job, downing stablemate Kenelem ($10) by a length and three quarters.
It was the first leg of a winning double for Wagga apprentice Hannah Williams, who was also successful later in the day on Artiste ($9.00) for Christopher Davis.
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