Homebush Lad wins Waimate Cup
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Canterbury reinsman Ben Hope convinced his parents, trainers Greg and Nina Hope, to take Homebush Lad to Oamaru on Sunday and his judgment paid off.
The seven-year-old gelding was the only representative from the Woodend Beach stable to attend the meeting and he gave them the perfect result when he won the Whitestone Livestock LTD Waimate Cup (3000m).
The son of Mach Three was stuck five back the fence early on, and it wasn’t until the field turned for home and parted like the red sea that he looked a threat.
Driver Ben Hope quickly found some clear running room and Homebush Lad’s superior staying ability was called upon to outlast his rivals and win by 1-1/2 lengths over No Nukes Skipper, with a further neck back to Dodgethebullet in third.
“We were rapt with him,” Nina Hope said. “He sat on the fence and he’s best not to be used during the running.
“A lot of those good ones off the back mark were ahead of him (early on), so that was going to make it hard for him, but as it worked out it was the best thing (to be five back on the fence).
“There were a few tired ones around him. He has been running in all of those cup races so his fitness is right up there.”
Hope was pleased with Homebush Lad heading into the race and said she was delighted he was finally able to get a Cup win for his connections.
“He has been pretty unlucky in his last few starts to be running into some nice horses, so it was really nice to see him get that win today,” she said.
“He had a few nice placings to some handy horses in the local country cups. Ben gave him a great drive. He was the one who was really keen to take him down.”
While pleased with the win, Hope said she is unsure of what the future holds for Homebush Lad and may leave that planning up to her son.
“It gets pretty tough now with the points system,” she said.
“He now has to race the top ones and there is nothing really for him. It is great to see him win, but it is hard now.
“I am not too sure where we will go from here. It is really tough in that grade. Ben might have a plan, he likes to plan where they go from there.”