Gary Portelli has cleaned up at Towac Park, taking race four in somewhat controversial circumstances on Tuesday.
Race leader Buffy, jockeyed by apprentice Deanne Payna, was two lengths ahead at the start of the straight before veering into the path of an oncoming Bringagem in the final furlong.
Bringagem was placed nicely in the chasing pack with 400m to go and made his move down the middle of the Towac Park straight at what looked like the opportune moment as hoop Jess Taylor guided her $6.50 chance within striking distance of a win.
But Buffy, in just her second start, jolted to her left, directly in the path of Taylor and Bringagem which stalled their run to the post.
Both horses were from Portelli’s stable, a protest was lodged, but race officials decided not to uphold the appeal.
Buffy and Bringagem came in ahead of Mudgee trainer Ganya William’s six-year-old bay mare Woodbrine Miss, who was ridden by race one winning jockey Shaun Guymer.
Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker’s Zafox came in fourth and couldn’t get near the front, with Buffy leading from virtually start to finish, leaping out of the gate and showing plenty of speed the whole way distance.
At the 800m mark Buffy was leading by two lengths and was giving something for the other horses in the field to chase.
She placed third in her last race, and had only had the one trial run before that, placing seventh in a field of eight.
Race favourite Explosive Missile, which was in at $2.40 at the start of the race, never got into a strong position and finished in fifth.
A Boy Named Sioux, which was all the way out at $101 as the race begun, started very strongly but faded fast, finishing second last, ahead of only Bell Swiper.
“If you’d asked him earlier if he wanted to come back to his own town and grab a couple of winners he’d be delighted,” Portelli stablehand Greg Miles said.
“We were quietly confident they would run well, but never get too carried away as they’re maidens, but it was a good result.”
He said the track hadn’t played too much havoc with the racing after Orange was hit with heavy rain over the weekend and sat through thunderstorms and heavy – albeit short – rainfall on Tuesday morning.
“They seem to be going down the middle of the track, it held up okay,” Miles said.
Recent upgrades to the track funded by Racing NSW and Orange City Council helped ensure Tuesday’s meeting went ahead despite the rain.