Damien Lane rode the Wellington Boot roller coaster on Sunday.
The Wyong-based trainer had favourite Tidal Impact scratched at the gates just moments before the $200,000 Hermitage Hill Wellington Boot (1100m) jumped.
The impressive filly was ruled out alongside Matthew Dale's Cosmic Serenade in a dramatic lead-up to the showcase's main feature, and the drama continued with In The Blink ($17) requiring a vet check just moments later.
Kris Lees' chance, though, was cleared to race and once the field settled in the barriers, and then jumped cleanly, Lane's attention shifted to his other hope, Sonnet Star ($4.40).
That hope was slightly dashed when the chestnut filly, out of Seven Sonnets by Star Turn, missed the start to a degree jumping from gate four, with chasing early a far from ideal spot to land during a race many dubbed a 'super race' due to the exciting sprinters in the field.
One of those, Mabel ($21) blazed over the opening couple of hundred metres of the 1100m journey to lead by a length early, and was later joined by Mazinjit ($21), Bourbon Flyer ($3) and She Hulk ($31), the quartet of two-year-olds gapping the rest of the reduced field as the leaders rounded the bend.
But Lane's hope wouldn't panic.
And, as the leaders hit the straight and a gap appeared, it was Sonnet Star that rose to the challenge, swooping two wide to burst through the field and snatch victory over In The Blink and Mabel, prepared by former Wellington Boot winning jockey Tracey Bartley.
Tipsters predicted fireworks ahead of the boot such was the quality of the field, and Lane had a frontrow seat to both ends of the spectrum in that regard.
She's got so much upside ... I've got to thank Robbie for coming down (and riding). For him to do that, we'll enjoy the winWellington Boot winning trainer Damien Lane
"I don't know, racing's a funny game," Lane said, before choking up post-race.
"She's a nice filly ... it's terrible for the other filly (though). For that to happen ... hopefully she's alright.
"It's a roller coaster, one of the few sports like it."
Sonnet Star's last run was a second on debut at Kensington Track and thanks to an incredible ride from Robbie Dolan the chestnut filly is now a boot champion.
"It's up there," Lane said rating the win as one of the best of his young training career.
"As I said, especially to be associated with (Vinery Stud). They didn't have to give me that horse.
"She's got so much upside. Bit of luck with the star turns, they're horses you'll hear about for a while. I've got to thank Robbie for coming down (and riding). For him to do that, we'll enjoy the win."
In the $100,000 Wellington Cup, the home-town Cup king Michael Mullholland recorded an impressive win with Reward Seeker.
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Jake Pracey-Holmes rode the Wellington trained six-year-old perfectly, finding enough late to surge past Dylan's Romance in the final furlong over the 1700m journey.
The second feature in the showcase meeting, the biggest in the Central District Racing Association, Reward Seeker came from the back of the pack but benefited from the rail's run
Bjorn Baker's Kiss The Bride set the early pace to lead narrowly at the 1000m mark and then kicked clear rounding the bend before Dylan's Romance made his move for Marc Connors.
(Reward Seeker is) going to the Orange Cup now, that's the plan the whole way; to get him to the 2100m.Wellington Cup winning trainer Michael Mullholland
As the field hit the straight it looked as though Connors' eight-year-old would keep the chasing pack at bay, but Pracey-Holmes' timed his $15 hope's run brilliantly to win by half-a-length.
Dylan's Romance ($18) finished second while Orange Cup prelude winner Renalot ($12), from Roy McCabe, rounded out a juicy trifecta.
"(Reward Seeker is) going to the Orange Cup now, that's the plan the whole way; to get him to the 2100m," Mulholland said.
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