RENEE Schluenz celebrated her first country Cup winner in style on Saturday after stable star Forgiato was a sizzling winner in the feature race at Laura.
Ridden perfectly by Masayuki Abe, the $3.20 shot was an easy winner of the 1450m Laura Cup, beating odds-on favourite Lord of Light by more than a length.
The win made up for last year’s second placing in the same race and continues Schluenz’s brilliant strike rate in the Cape.
The Innisfail trainer has taken two horses to Cooktown for two winners, while she’s had four starts at Laura for two winners and a second placing.
“I only go up if there’s the right race for the right horse and we’re lucky it has suited us,” she said.
“I love going up there. The racing is so good. The prizemoney is good and the road is great to get there.”
Schluenz praised the ride of Abe, who showed patience in the run before making his move at the right time to catch his rivals off guard.
When the Japanese hoop took off just before the turn, he went from second to first in a handful of strides, putting a gap on the field.
“Last year he led and I knew that he wasn’t going to get the lead easily this year so I told him to take a sit,” Schluenz said.
“He rode him a treat and it was a good win.”
Five trainers shared the spoils across the six races.
The Cairns-based Fred Wieland was the only trainer to notch up a double.
Classic Chance ($2) won the Maiden over 1000m with apprentice Lauren Guernier in the saddle, while Nor Yadi got the chocolates on Pomade ($2.10) in the Class 3 Plate over the same distance.
Former Weipa resident Greg Williams wasn’t on track to see his horse Sir Roland ($5) win the 0-50 Handicap with Yadi in the saddle.
The owner of the Cape York Gateway Motel at Mareeba was enjoying a holiday in Canada.
A long-time supporter of the Laura and Cooktown races, it was the first Cape York meeting Williams has missed for some time.
Trainer Jenny Ball joked that the owner’s absence was a good luck charm after several placings in recent local meetings.
Tolga trainer Ricky Ludwig saddled up three favourites, but had to settle for one win.
Jockey Frank Edwards produced an effortless ride aboard
Sonofthebeast ($1.60) in the Class B Handicap over 1200m.
Cooktown Amateur Turf Club president Darryl Paradise enjoyed a win when Yarralinda ($1.60) gave Yadi a treble for the day in the Class 6 Handicap (1200m).