Red Letters the late mail in Orange Picnic Cup

IT’S not quite Royal Randwick, nor was the atmosphere the same as that of Black Caviar’s final race.

But for Forbes trainer Lex Crosby, watching Red Letters storm home to win the $4000 Orange Picnic Cup (1300 metres), on a stifling Saturday afternoon at Towac Park was just as good.

“When we raced her down at Randwick we were about five metres from trainer Peter Moody when Caviar ran her last race,” Crosby laughed.

“That was exciting, and Saturday wasn’t quite the same, but it’ll do.”

Despite drawing wide in barrier seven, Red Letters was strong, sitting back for the better of the race.

Sitting two wide most of the way, in fourth and fifth, jockey Billy Owen was riding the chestnut mare exactly as planned, Crosby said.

“He rode her very well, we’re happy with her and with him,” Crosby explained.

“Billy rode her perfectly, exactly to our instructions. She was two wide most of the way and then at about the 300 metre mark she got going and won by half a length, out three wide.

“She’s actually drawn the widest barrier in her last few races and she’s had good results anyway.”

Crosby said he had expected the four-year-old to run well, based on previous form and preparation.

“Her preparation was very good,” he said.

“It was only her second race back from a nine month spell, and she raced very well in Gilgandra [on January 5].”

Red Letters ran third of 10 in Gilgandra, in the Armatree Hotel Benchmark 55 Handicap (1100 metres).

“She also ran 11th of 13 when we took her to Randwick, which is good quality racing,” Crosby said.

“Even though this was a strong field, your typical picnic field, we were always confident.”

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