WODONGA trainer Brian Cox atoned for some recent Corowa Cup heartache when Full Hand scored a thrilling victory in the feature yesterday.
Aided by a rails-hugging ride by Wangaratta hoop Ernie Marchant, Full Hand got up in the last stride to hand Cox his first victory in the $30,000 mile.
Cox has finished second in the two of the past three Corowa cups, with This Cats Magic (2012) and He’s An Angel (2011) both beaten a nose.
But is was Full Hand who got the judge’s nod yesterday in another thrilling finish.
Full Hand ($8) won by a long head over Via Facile ($3.60 ef), with Gunner ($9) a short half head further back in third.
Marchant was ecstatic to land a feature race as he tries to re-establish himself as one of the leading jockeys in the district.
“I’ve had a couple of tough years injury wise and have been in and out, and it’s just pleasing to have trainers still sticking by me,” he said.
“It was a tough effort by the horse.
“I got a beautiful run throughout the race and Brian is a terrific trainer and the horse looked like a million dollars before the race.
“I just trusted the horse to get the job done and he did the rest.”
Marchant could have enjoyed an even bigger weekend after Ready Zuca finished runner-up behind the Cox-trained He’s An Angel in the Towong Cup on Saturday.
He still landed a double yesterday after also winning aboard the Brett Cavanough-trained Rusty Motorbike earlier in the day.
Full Hand will now head to the Albury Gold Cup later this month.
He will be part of a two-pronged attack for the Cox stable with stablemate and yesterday’s Echuca Cup winner, Minnie Downs, also set to target the big race.
Minnie Downs has suddenly emerged as the best local hope in the race after last year’s winner, Niblick, failed to fire in his second run back from a spell at Canberra yesterday.
Niblick finished more than 10 lengths behind Messene in the Listed National Sprint and appears to be a shadow of the horse he was a year ago.