Former Victorian Kentucky Flyer repaid his new owners in full when the six-year-old ran his opposition off their legs in Fridays $35,000 Cessnock Leagues Club Jungle Juice Cup. Heavily backed ($7 into $4 favourite), Kentucky Flyer with Chinese jockey Qin Yong aboard bounded out of the barriers to lead clearly and he was always travelling like a winner.
At the post, Kentucky Flyer had a length to spare from another heavily backed runner Sniponet ($4.40) with Marathon ($5) in third place. The winner was formerly trained in Victoria by Graham Begg and the gelding was narrowly beaten at Cranbourne a month before the Jungle Juice Cup.
Graham Payne, a former Cessnock sporting hero with premiership success in rugby league and soccer, trains Kentucky Flyer at Goulburn. Payne bought a hotel in Goulburn six months ago and he has a small team in work. His ambition in twenty years of training has been to win his hometown famous Jungle Juice Cup.
Payne teamed up with another former Cessnock resident Darrell Kidd and Sky Racing commentator Anthony Manton to buy Kentucky Flyer with the Jungle Juice Cup in mind. An emotional Payne spoke to Sky Racing after the race. “I have been trying to win this race for twenty years. I am a proud Cessnock boy, and this is the towns famous race. We picked this horse out and he galloped brilliantly on the track at Goulburn last Saturday.” Payne said.
Qin Yong was sent to Australia to do an apprenticeship under Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup and his improvement has been remarkable. He has ridden nineteen winners and said after the Cup it was by far his biggest thrill.
Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge landed a double at the meeting with Adele’s Joy and Ghibli. Adele’s Joy was second up in the 1150 metre Pedens Hotel Maiden Plate and she held off the challenge by Kris Lees Wisama to win by a half head. Blake Spriggs, formerly apprenticed to Steve Hodge was aboard the winner.
Ghibli, a recent addition to the Hodge stable has been flying and he was too classy in the 900 metre Class 3 Handicap. The five-year-old is a short course specialist and former Kiwi jockey Amelia Denby, drove the five-year-old along the rail to lead soon after the start. He always had the race in his keeping to win by three quarters of a length.
The longest priced winner on the day was the $31 chance Gone Viral in the 1150 metre Hungerford Hill Wines Handicap. Trained by former jockey Tanya Randell, Gone Viral was ridden by Jess Taylor and it was his third win on the Cessnock track.