Racing: Ginga Dude back in top form

The Wyong Cup is on the agenda for Ginga Dude who beat Booming in the Tattersalls Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday.  Photo / Kenny Rodger
The Wyong Cup is on the agenda for Ginga Dude who beat Booming in the Tattersalls Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Photo / Kenny Rodger

Cambridge owner-trainer Graeme Boyd won't be tempted to extend the winter carnival of tough stayer Ginga Dude after his courageous win in the group three Tattersall's Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Shouldering topweight of 59kg from a wide barrier, Ginga Dude ($6) responded to the urgings of leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman to hold off a late challenge from fellow Kiwi stayer Booming ($21) to win by a length with Warrior Within ($21) a nose away third.

Boyd was down in the dumps earlier in the carnival when he was forced to scrap Doomben Cup plans for Ginga Dude but savoured Saturday's triumph.

"He bumped his knee before the Doomben Cup, which was a real shame because that was an ideal race for him," Boyd said.

"But he's done his job now. He's like his trainer, we both need a freshen-up."

Ginga Dude will have a short break at Coffs Harbour before he prepares for the spring carnival in Sydney.

"I'll give him three weeks off and take him to Coffs Harbour and ride him on the beach which we'll both enjoy," Boyd said.

"The Wyong Cup in September is a race that I'm looking at then he will go on to other races in the spring."

Bowman had Ginga Dude perfectly positioned from his awkward barrier and praised the 8-year-old's will to win.

"I was always very confident he would win and I didn't have to push him into the gap when we straightened, he took me there," Bowman said.

The win completed a race-to-race stakes double for Bowman, who survived a protest to claim the Tattersall's Mile on the Chris Waller-trained Firebolt ($2.60 fav).

Ric McMahon, who rode Jetset Lad fired in an objection for interference in the straight but it was quickly dismissed.

The margin over the former Cambridge galloper was a short half head with Listen Son another short neck third.

Firebolt had racked up three consecutive stakes placings going into Saturday's Listed race and Bowman was happy to finally snare victory.

"He really deserved that win," he said. "We have been riding him differently and getting him to settle and it's great for him to win today."

Pear Tart won the the Tattersall's Tiara for Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm operation. The John Thompson-trained 3-year-old filly held off Skyerush and Red Tracer in a tight finish to the final group one race of the season.

Pear Tart was ridden by international jockey Jeff Lloyd who recently returned to Australia to live in Queensland.

"It's nice to get a group one to finish off the year," Thompson said.

"She beat the older horses today. It was a big effort."

Lloyd, who won the Queensland Guineas on the filly three weeks ago, was thrilled with the win.

"It's great to come back and win a group one," he said.

"You can't hope for any more.

"I have her to thank for that."

A bold gamble by Sunshine Coast trainer Natalie McCall paid off when River Lad won the group Three Healy Stakes. River Lad ($17) gave McCall, who has 10 horses in work, her greatest moment in racing when he edged out Excellantes ($6) to win the 1200m scamper by a long neck with Griffon ($4.60) 2 lengths away third.

McCall elected to scratch River Lad from Thursday's Rockhampton Newmarket when the gelding drew the outside alley.

"He came up with barrier 18 out of 18 so even though this was a harder race I thought it was worth having a crack when he drew so well," McCall said.

"I'm just overwhelmed. To win a group three race on a day like today is just out of this world."

McCall spent several years learning her craft with John Hawkes' Queensland stable when the trainer ran the Woodlands operation for Bob and Jack Ingham.

McCall will monitor River Lad in the next few days but will consider the A$150,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton on July 11 for the 4-year-old.

Winning apprentice Tim Bell believes River Lad, who was having his first start since April, has made significant improvement this campaign.

"He bounced right on the speed today and raced really fresh but when the going got tough he really stuck his neck out," Bell said.

"The way he felt today, I can tell he's definitely gone up a notch this campaign so there should be more wins in store."

Bell said River Lad was suited by the breakneck speed up front and gradually improved into a challenging position at the home turn.

"I was going to have him a bit closer but when they poured on the pressure it suited me to let him drift a little bit further back but I was always confident he would pick them up," Bell said.

Audacious Spirit, the $4 favourite, was softened up in the middle stages and weakened noticeably in the final 100m to finish sixth.AAP

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