FORMER Southern District jockey Nick Heywood returned home to guide Victorian visitor Suparazi to victory in the $100,000 Snake Gully Cup (1400m) on Friday.
It was Heywood's second win in the Gundagai feature as Suparazi ($3.60) provided Wangaratta trainer Ben Brisbourne with his first Snake Gully Cup.
Heywood produced a well-judged ride on Suparazi, who burst to the front in the home straight to score by one and three quarter lengths from Belleistic Kids ($12) and the Bjorn Baker-trained Cinque Torri ($5.50).
Wagga galloper Rocket Tiger rattled home for fourth.
Heywood guided hometown hope Zero To Ten to victory in 2015 as an apprentice jockey and was thrilled to win the race for second time.
"They're very hard to win," Heywood said.
"You need a lot of luck here. I've been here numerous years and never had much luck but you've just got to get on the right horse and take the moment.
"Today we had a lovely run in transit. We were able to pick up from the 600, get going from the 400 and at the 200, it was just handlebars down."
MORE SPORT NEWS
Suparazi hadn't won this preparation but had been racing in metropolitan company.
Brisbourne had also accepted at Caulfield on Saturday with Suparazi but conceded he had pulled the right rein in hitting the road to Gundagai.
"It's a big thrill," Brisbourne said.
"These big country cups are really exciting and he was a horse that I thought potentially would be well suited to it. He got in with enough weight and we got Nick (Heywood) on board who always steers our horses well so we went in with a bit of confidence.
"We've had this race in the back of our mind but we hadn't had it screwed down. He was in at Caulfield tomorrow as well but at the end of the day, I said to the owners it's a cup where you'll have your name on it for life where as it's just a handicap in town so this probably means more.
"I'm really rapt for the connections, who support the stable really well."
The win also secured Suparazi a start in next year's $3 million Big Dance at Randwick.
"That's exciting," Brisbourne said.
"We've got a long time to navigate that, there's a lot of water to go under the bridge but it's nice to have that target."
The Tuckerbox (1000m), the $50,000 feature sprint, went the way of Mr Moppett ($3.90) for the second straight year.
Mr Moppett downed Wagga sprinter Lipstick Swing ($3.80) by a short half head.
Earlier in the day, Wagga trainer Darrell Burnet enjoyed a winner on Snake Gully Cup day for the second straight year when You're On Mute ($8.00) took out the Class One Showcase Handicap (1100m).
You're On Mute made it two starts for two wins, having scored on debut at Leeton back in April.
It also gave apprentice jockey Olivia Chambers a win in a heat of Racing NSW's rising star series.
Burnet last year scored with I Am Richenuff.
Wagga trainer Mick Travers landed the $50,000 Country Magic Benchmark 58 Showcase Handicap (1400m) with Gold Tracker ($4.40).
The Danny Williams-trained Kreon ($2.15) took out the $50,000 Showcase Super Maiden Handicap (1180m) by four lengths, the first of its kind to be held in the Southern District.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: