THERE was no smile bigger than that of Tumbarumba's Molly Bourke after she finished the Wagga Gold Cup carnival with a bang on Friday.
Bourke rode the last winner on Town Plate day and then repeated the feat at the Gold Cup meeting as she guided Fangela ($5.00) to victory in the $50,000 Walsh & Blair Country Magic Benchmark 74 Handicap (1200m).
The former Wagga apprentice jockey, now based in Canberra, gave the grey every chance as he fought on to down Albury galloper La Sante ($12) by a long head.
In a remarkable near miss, Albury trainer Donna Scott finished second, third and fourth with her representatives as Gusonic ($4.40) battled on to be one and a quarter lengths away in third, with Halo Warrior ($19) fourth.
Bourke was rapt to finish her first Wagga Gold Cup carnival with two winners.
"It's amazing," Bourke said.
"I honestly didn't think I'd get the two wins. I was hoping to at least get one but it's been a thrill."
Winning trainer Keith Dryden was also full of praise for Bourke.
"She got there a little bit early, she's got a lot to learn yet," Dryden said.
"She comes down and rides a bit of work for me so I try to reward her with some decent rides.
"I think she's going to make a jockey. She's just got to get a little stronger and get a bit more race nous about her but she's starting to get there so I think she'll make it."
Bourke's two kilogram claim dropped Fangela down to 58.5 kilograms, something that made a big difference in a close finish.
It was Fangela's fifth win from 10 starts as he starts to build an imposing record.
The four-year-old was fourth emergency for the $200,000 Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on Thursday but missed out on a start and was forced to settle for a consolation prize.
Dryden was proud of how Fangela performed.
"Went terrific. Little horse, big weight," he said.
"I was hoping to get a run in the Plate (on Thursday) with him but you never know, maybe it was the best thing in the long run.
"As Louis said, if he runs third then we just get benchmarked out of everything so it might be a good thing.
"He wouldn't have beat Front Page."
It was a good carnival for Dryden despite just the Fangela win.
Handle The Truth ran fifth in the Town Plate, while Dream Runner ran the race of his life to finish a close second in the Gold Cup at $61.
It was enough to qualify Dream Runner for the $2 million Big Dance at Randwick in November.
"Very happy with that. I'm disappointed we didn't win, I thought the horse was a great chance. I don't often have a bet but I had $50 each-way myself because he was $81."
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