They went into Friday’s The Hotham as pre-race favourites, but Brian Gentle’s All the Wine and Michael Plummer’s Pujols will still be eligible for Australia’s richest maiden next year after narrowly missing out on the $30,000 winner’s cheque.
That’s not to say the weren’t impressive in the race dubbed the battlers’ Everest, far from it, there was next to nothing separating first from fifth.
All The Wine ($4.40) produced a huge run to second, claiming $14,000 for his trouble, roaring through the chasing pack and actually hitting the lead with about 100 metres to go.
He was ultimately edged out by a head by the Nathan Hobson-trained winner in Henry’s Affair ($9). All The Wine finished another nose in front of Mental As Anything ($8) in third, with Danube Delta and Pujols fourth and fifth respectively by not much more.
Pujols jumped from barrier 12 with Katie Jenkinson on board and he was caught well-wide and forced to work hard in the sprint, where he was still on the outside.
Gentle’s other chance, Rosamund, ran seventh, finishing two-and-a-half lengths behind the winner.
It was Henry’s Affair’s 27th start – he was one of the more lightly-raced horses in the $75,000 feature – after being bought for $3,000 by a loyal group of connections.
Incredibly, Hobson found him on the internet.
“Great feeling winning this year after we ran last last year. We’d only had the horse for a month and hadn’t put a foot wrong in all its prep. Might have to reinvest the winnings into another horse for next year,” Hobson, who trained Sathern in last year’s event, said.
Punters clearly saw something in Hobson’s gelding too, he started the week at 41-to-one, dropped to $12 by Friday morning and jumped at nines.
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