Cunningham’s ‘frustrating’ gelding storms to Orange win after drop in grade

WINNER: Noel Callow steered El Dorado Mine to victory in the first at Orange on Monday. Photo: NICK McGRATH
WINNER: Noel Callow steered El Dorado Mine to victory in the first at Orange on Monday. Photo: NICK McGRATH

Although he’s been “frustrating” at times for Hawkesbury trainer Clare Cunningham El Dorado Mine proved why he was at short odds of $2.25 in the first at Orange on Monday afternoon, hitting his stride down Towac Park’s straight to win by four lengths.

Cunningham dropped the five-year-old back in grade to try and inspire him to a second career victory in Monday’s Epiroc Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600 metres), after running for places in four of his last five starts.

It worked, with Noel Callow sitting mid-pack and slightly off the pace before completely outclassing the challengers from the top of the straight onward.

Nightspun ($61) ran second for Dubbo trainer Garry Lunn with popular Rylstone trainer Greg Hook picking up third spot with Subway Surfer ($10).

ANOTHER PLACE: Greg Hook's Subway Surfer ran third in the first at Orange on Monday afternoon. Photo: NICK McGRATH

ANOTHER PLACE: Greg Hook's Subway Surfer ran third in the first at Orange on Monday afternoon. Photo: NICK McGRATH

“He’s been a bit of a tricky horse, so it’s nice to give him confidence,” Cunningham said of her gelding.

“He’s been frustrating and run a lot of placings on the provincial circuit and we’ve been scratching our heads our a bit (so) it’s nice to drop him back in grade and see him get the job done.

“He won by a fair distance, so hopefully he’ll go on and keep getting the job done.

“Some of his best form has been over a mile so I wasn’t worried about that, with the right jockey on board it was the right race for him.

“He feels like a horse that might get further but we’re still trying to figure him out so we’ll see what Noel says and go from there.”

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