He may not have finished in first at the Cowra Cup last week but Peter Cornish had plenty of reasons to smile in Dubbo on Monday after Athena's Voice led a one-two Orange punch.
Athena's Voice took out the Racing Mates Benchmark 66 Handicap, just ahead of absolute outsider Rockchesta, trained by Alex Van Den Bos, who was a $81 chance at the jump.
The Kody Nestor-trained Dad's Boy jumped early and led by up to five lengths early on in the 2200m feature, while Anthony Cavallo sat Athena's Voice on the inside rail, biding his time.
With 150 metres to go, he made his move, guiding Athena's Voice past Dad's Boy, holding off as Rockchesta came from wide to challenge the $2.30 favourite.
Van Den Bos' seven-year-old gelding came within 0.3m of winning, but in the end Cavallo timed the run perfectly to get over the line ahead of Rockchesta and Club Town ($9.50) in the $22,000 feature.
Cornish, who's only had the two runners since returning from a spell from training, said he was stoked to have a win with her after running third in Cowra.
"I was very confident coming in today and thought 'whatever beats her will win it today', she's done brilliantly during the week and after that run at Cowra was just a bit short but this is a nice little consolation," he said after the win.
"We've played around with her and seen her on the net for sale and thought she'd be pretty handy mare around the bush."
"She's going through the grades now, she'd be benchmark 76 now, she's a beautiful horse to train and makes it easy."
He said he'd enjoyed jumping back into training in the past six months with Athena's Voice and Wrong Bias, who won late last year.
"I just play around with those as a bit of a hobby, but been around it all my life," he said.
Anthony Cavallo, who rode Athena's Voice in Cowra, said they'd "raced her into fitness".
"The Cowra Cup was the one we were aiming for but this race come up and you take it in," he said.
Cavallo said it was no surprise to see Dad's Boy race away, but said he was always confident.
"We just bided our time, it was easy enough to slide into the race when I wanted to," he said.
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