It was a day of firsts at the Deniliquin Caulfield Cup Race Day on Saturday with Gunbower horse King’s Hand claiming the Deniliquin Cup.
It was the six year-old gelding’s first visit to Deni, with trainer/owner John Pearson making his first appearance at the Deni track since 1988.
Riding the cup winner was jockey Juana Andreou, at her first meeting following the completion of her apprenticeship, who had her first cup winning ride.
‘‘To win the cup race on my first senior race meeting is pretty exciting,’’ Andreou said after the race.
‘‘It’s my first time in Deni as well, so that’s not a bad first time here.
‘‘I haven’t had a winner all day, but I joked beforehand that I would be okay as long as I won the cup race.
‘‘Hopefully it can be the first of a few cup wins during my career.’’
It was a tight race throughout with Jerilderie trained Our Project handling the soft 5 track well and leading for a majority of the way.
Coming into the home stretch, Our Project held a slender lead before King’s Hand made his move.
It was neck-and-neck coming to the post with King’s Hand just getting in front by a nose.
Squeaky Squirrel finished two lengths behind the winner in third.
Local horse Senor Juez ($13) unfortunately couldn’t get his rhythm going, falling 12 lengths short in seventh place, while defending champion Shy Frank was never in contention, finishing last after a slow start on the damp track.
Race 1, Maiden Handicap (1000m): Reazon ($7), 1st; Real Royal ($12), 2nd; Bianbarnie ($5.50), 3rd; Dream Project ($4.60), 4th; Wallach ($8), 5th.
Race 2, Benchmark 50 Handicap (1200m): Smokey Ora ($5), 1st; Junior Mac ($7), 2nd; Enconti ($7), 3rd; Never Tempted ($14), 4th; Tis Possible ($5), 5th.
Race 3, Maiden Plate (1400m): Call Me Spice ($4.20), 1st; Stella Vitae ($4.20), 2nd; Cheap Choice ($3.80), 3rd; Street Prince ($6), 4th; Tennessee Dancer ($4.20), 5th.
Race 4, Class 3 Handicap (1600m): Magic Pegasus ($4), 1st; Kapover ($3.20), 2nd; Arellano ($3.70), 3rd; Admission ($9), 4th; Johnny the Cashman ($4.20), 5th.
Race 5, Paraway Pastoral Deniliquin Cup (1400m): King’s Hand ($4), 1st; Our Project ($8), 2nd; Squeaky Squirrel ($5.50), 3rd; Little Jatz ($12), 4th; Greipel ($3), 5th.
Race 6, Benchmark 50 Handicap (2100m): Asquillion ($2.50), 1st; Beltum ($5), 2nd; Great Bay ($4.40), 3rd; Shadow Omen ($4.60), 4th; Al Gerard ($4.40), 5th.
King’s Hand (5), ridden by Juana Andreou, pipped Our Project at the post, with Squeaky Squirrel not too far behind.