Click or flick across for more photos of the Benalla Gold Cup race.
THE Brian Cox-trained Sumakaray looks set for a lucrative spring campaign after scoring a powerful first-up win at Benalla yesterday.
Resuming from a 22-week spell, Sumakaray ($4-fav) was given the run of the race by Kiwi jockey Michael Walker after drawing ideally in barrier one.
Walker stalked the early leader, Sir Fernarndo, before angling for a run once into the home straight.
Once straightened, Sumakaray showed her customary explosive turn of speed to surge to the lead and fight off the challenge of Nicholls Court ($10) over the final 50 metres to score by just over a length from the fast-finishing Specter ($4.60).
Cox said the victory in the $50,000 feature sprint justified his decision not to head to Melbourne or Sydney for Sumakaray’s first start this preparation.
“She went super the mare,” Cox said.
“She is only a four-year-old and taking on beating the older horses.
“I opted for an easy kill first-up instead of heading to Melbourne or Sydney.
“So it’s satisfying to get the result we were after.
“I will let the dust settle but I’m leaning towards heading to Sydney for her next start.
“I think she will go better in Sydney so its something I have to discuss with the owners.”
Cox finished with a winning double after Murdoch’s Joy also resumed with an impressive victory after a 21-week spell.
Ridden by claiming apprentice Jye McNeill, Murdoch’s Joy finsished powerfully down the centre of the track to defeat race favourite Samer Drive ($3.40-fav) and Chilli Beach ($8.50) by almost two lengths.
It was the first time Murdoch’s Joy had won first up in three previous attempts and paid over $20 on the VIC TAB.
“I wasn’t surprised Murdoch’s Joy won — we thought he would go well,” Cox said.
“We will see how he pulls up and we might now head to the Seymour Cup on October 20.”