St Marys Cup heads back to the Fingal Valley

27 January 2023 | Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

All veteran Fingal owner-breeder Vern Woods wanted on his mantlepiece was an Eric Bean Memorial St Marys Cup.

On Thursday afternoon at Carrick Park, his dream became a reality when Windy Hanover scored in the feature event.

Windy Hanover, a nine-year-old entire was only having his ninth career start, owing to connections giving the horse plenty of time after a leg injury.

Winning trainer-driver Rohan Hillier was delighted with the result, particularly knowing what the win meant for the pacer’s owner-breeder.

“Im really happy for the Woods family, Vern is a great old bloke and I have had a great association with him the past few years, and I’m really happy for him,” said Hillier after the $14,000 event.

Windy Hanover went into the race with only one win to his credit and produced better standing start manners than he did in his prior try.

“I was really happy with how he began as he was a bit scratchy away at Scottsdale.

“We lobbed in a lovely spot, and I knew the horse in the one-one would take me into the race, and that’s exactly what happened,” Hillier recalled.

Despite being first past the post, the race then headed to the steward’s room after a protest was lodged from the connections of the second placegetter, Dapper, who was defeated by two-metres for alleged interference over the concluding stages, which was dismissed by rewards.

The win was only the second career victory for Windy Hanover, which gives Hillier plenty of options to place the pacer going forward.

“He is still lightly raced, and that’s only his second win, so he can still get in some of those restricted win races.

“There is a Harry Holgate heat here (at Carrick) next week,” Hillier said.

The annual New Year’s meeting at St Marys on Tasmania’s east coast was abandoned this year after significant rainfall in the weeks before the race day, resulting in the 1300m grass track being unsafe to race on, which resulted on the St Marys Cup being held at an alternate venue.


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