Twice as nice

Benalla Ensign - - Sport - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

Mick Cer­chi took Be­nalla by storm last week when he sad­dled two win­ners in the eight-race meet­ing.

One of them, Canelo, with Thomas Stock­dale aboard, took out the $20 000 Royal Ho­tel Be­nalla BM64 Hand­i­cap over 1206 m.

A win Cer­chi ex­pected, even if pun­ters were a lit­tle less cer­tain, with the six-year-old geld­ing pay­ing $8.20 on Su­pertab.

‘‘He was a good thing beaten in the Weary Dun­lop at the pre­vi­ous meet­ing here,’’ the Flem­ing­ton-based trainer said.

‘‘He had a bad start, but was right up with a qual­ity field at the fin­ish, so with a bit of luck I knew he was al­ways go­ing to run well on the day.

‘‘He is a pretty good horse and is al­ways there­abouts.

‘‘Any­where around 1000-1200 m he is al­ways a chance and he is due to run at Kyne­ton on Wed­nes­day (to­day) and if he pulls up okay will go around again at the week­end and after that we will have a look at him be­cause I don’t think he will have that much more left in him this prepa­ra­tion.’’

After a strong win in the $22 000 Spec­savers Be­nalla Maiden Plate Cer­chi’s horse King Ko­hei has now been set for a start at Cran­bourne’s next twi­light meet­ing.

Cer­chi said it was a good way to break his maiden, with the fouryear-old geld­ing now hav­ing a win and a third from seven starts.

While he did not have a run­ner in town yes­ter­day Cer­chi has Sadaqa en­tered for Satur­day’s Emi­rates Air­line Hand­i­cap over 1400 m on the Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes day.

‘‘This will be the fifth year in a row we have had a starter in the Mel­bourne Cup car­ni­val,’’ Cer­chi said.

Matt Cu­mani is also mak­ing the re­gion his home away from home.

His horse Ryan’s Fender, rid­den by Daniel Moor, took out the $22 000 CA Sin­clair Pork Whole­salers SV Maiden Plate over 2046 m.

And was so happy with the win he al­ready has Ryan’s Fender set for Don­ald on Novem­ber 19.

His Be­nalla win set up a big week for the Bal­larat-based trainer was two days be­fore land­ing a sec­ond suc­ces­sive dou­ble at Sey­mour on the Thurs­day.

There he sad­dled March­esa in the $25 000 Kelly’s Coun­try Homes 3YO Fil­lies Maiden Plate over 1411 m with jockey Jor­dan Childs cross­ing the line a length ahead of the field.

Be­fore send­ing out Golden Author­ity in the last of the day – the $25 000 Clas­sicBet Hand­i­cap over 1600 m — to score a mas­sive win with the best of the rest six lengths adrift.

He also has two starters over the fa­mous 3200 m on Tues­day, just not in the Mel­bourne Cup.

In­stead Missy Zippy and Mr Coyne will be at the bar­rier in the $20 000 Moama Bowl­ing Club Hand­i­cap.

‘‘But we do have one nom­i­nated for the Queen El­iz­a­beth at Flem­ing­ton on Satur­day, so we have high hopes of a big mo­ment in the Mel­bourne Cup car­ni­val week,’’ Cu­mani said.

Salute: Canelo rid­den by Thomas Stock­dale wins the Royal Ho­tel Be­nalla BM64 Hand­i­cap last week.

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