At his fourth attempt at the race, Sedgwick trainer Ross Graham has captured Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic glory.
Sun Of Sonoko, who won the Tatlow Final last month at Melton’s Tabcorp Park, took his career stake earnings to almost $90,000 with a stunning win in an action-packed Redwood 2YO Classic at Maryborough on Sunday afternoon.
Graham, who also drove his up-and-coming trotting star, spoke of a feeling of elation and relief after the triumph, having previously had runners finish third, last and fourth in the event.
“It is a special race,” he said. “You’ve got to get away from the start and handle the big crowd, and he was able to do everything right.”
Graham, who works his horses on the same track as runner-up Hilltown Yankee, said the latter trotter’s trainer, Shane Hall, joked recently “wouldn’t it be good if we could run 1-2 in the race”, to which Graham replied, “It’s just nice to have a runner in it”.
Well, the Sedgwick duo did run 1-2, and hometown punters who had a go at the Quinella snared a dividend of $67.90 for their troubles.
Long odds-on favourite in the Classic, Blitzthemcalder, finished well back after making a mistake early, but he wasn’t alone.
Of the 10 runners, seven broke at some stage in the race, only the first three over the line staying out of trouble. “I think only three trotted all the way,” Graham pointed out. “It’s half the battle.”
Graham said the shoes would tomorrow come off Sun Of Sonoko and the son of Sundon would head for a well-deserved spell.
“He’s probably above average,” Graham said of his winner. “He’s not quite in the same league as the favourite, but he stood up and did everything right on the day.
“He’ll have his shoes pulled off tomorrow and he’ll spell before we bring him back and get him ready for his three-year-old career.”
Hilltown Yankee was 4.5m behind the winner with Daryl Douglas in the spider, while Dora Pepperell finished third for Greg Sugars.
The Boss Man finished fourth despite a slow start, running a mighty race for Scott Dyer.
Blitzthemcalder, who jumped at $1.50, came in eighth and beaten over 100m by the winner.
Meanwhile, the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Trotters Derby Final was won by Jodi Quinlan-trained-and-driven Sunset Invasion, who utilised the sprint lane in the home straight of the 2690m classic to score a narrow victory.
Odds-on favourite Cyclone U Bolt (Mark Purdon) and the eventual winner staged a cracking battle in the straight before Quinlan and her charge got the better of the New Zealand speedster.
Chris Lang-trained Aldebaran Shades finished third after leading, beaten 1.6m by the winner.