THE cheers of 'Go Diva' were loud in Friday night's Bathurst Gold Cup Final, but those cheers were what made Nangar Diva's win so special for her trainer Dennis Barnes.
While the Cudal based breeder-trainer has contested other big races with Nangar Diva in the past - she has placed third twice in Group features - when she charged down the home straight at Kennerson Park on Friday Barnes' family was there to watch and cheer too.
It made the thrill of winning the Bathurst feature for the first time even better for Barnes.
"All my family is here. Normally when I go to Sydney or Brisbane or wherever, someone has to stay home and do the dogs," he said.
"But all my family came tonight and that was just a very big thrill.
"Yes, she is a Diva. We bred her, we breed all our own dogs, so this is a great moment and to be able to share it with all the family, that's very special."
A Fabregas x Fancy Dancer bitch, Nangar Diva started the $25,000-to-the-winner Bathurst Gold Cup as the $3.90 second elect.
She had placed second in her heat four days earlier and also boasted the experience of running in the Group 3 New Sensation, Group 3 Flying Amy, Group 1 Brisbane Cup and Group 3 Golden Ticket in a strong 2019.
But as it turned out even more crucial was that Nangar Diva drew box two for the 520 metres race. It allowed her to get a clean start.
While it was Solar Sky and Shima Breeze that began best from the lids, when that pair ran wide down the back straight Nangar Diva took the lead.
Slingshot Hammer was close behind, but just as he looked like he would surge to the front along the fence, Nangar Diva cut back.
Slingshot Hammer was checked and Nangar Diva zipped out to lead by four lengths into the straight. From there she never looked like being caught.
Barnes' runner, cheered all the way home, clocked a 29.72 seconds effort to post the 13th win of her career. Slingshot Hammer ($6) recovered to take second, 51/4 lengths away, while Djay Holden ($34) was a further 3/4 lengths away in third.
"I thought if she could nail the start she was going to be hard to beat. She's got mid-race pace and I thought if she could get a break on them she might hold out, but there was some good quality dogs in there," Barnes said.
"I was just watching her, I seen the four move up to her and I thought 'Oh no, here we go, she is going to run second again'. But then something happened and all of a sudden she was three and four in front. I knew they wouldn't run her down then.
"I've been trying to win this for that long I can't remember.
"I won an Orange Cup here [with All Too Fancy], but this is the first Bathurst Cup. I've had four or five finalists before, but this is the first time I've won."
The other highlight of the meeting at Kennerson Park came when the Rob Camilleri-trained Victorian stayer Rajasthan won the Red Dog Stayers Stakes (618 metres) in track-record time.
After making a flying start from the seven box, Rajasthan clocked 35.69 seconds effort for the distance clipping 0.01 off the previous record which was set by Nellie Lost It back in March 2017.
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