FRESHWATER Creek trainer Jamie Edwards highlighted the riding skills of Dean Yendall after his exquisite timing aboard top weight Bioko in the 0-68 rating handicap (2350m) yesterday at Warrnambool races.
Yendall was buried back in the field on the $2.20 favourite and at the mercy of lighter-weighted runner Rael Rules ($5), which kicked clear at the top of the straight after setting a modest pace in front.
Bioko was angled away from the rails by Yendall on the turn and balanced up down the middle of the track but was giving Rael Rules a big start.
It wasn't until the final 100 metres that he closed quickly on the leader and levelled up centimetres from the winning post.
His momentum was rewarded with a short half-head victory, with Gun And Power ($5) a further 1 lengths adrift.
"I thought this horse's last 100 would have been exceptional," said Edwards, who trains in partnership with Bruce Elkington.
"It (Rael Rules) had every chance to beat us.
"He (Bioko) goes good for Dean. This horse has had eight or nine runs with Dean and he would have won four of them. He's a bit of a trick horse. You have to kid to him and kid to him."
Bioko, which lumped 59.5 kilograms, has been in rare form this campaign, winning at three of his 10 outings and earning connections $30,000.
Now an eight-year-old, his career prizemoney has topped $155,000.
Lightly-raced seven-year-old Digby Road will target summer cups after a well-deserved win in the 0-58 rating handicap (1400m).
Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde said Digby Road would be set for one or more of the Woodford, Koroit and Penshurst cups.
"We're just going to try to make hay while the sun shines," Wilde said.
"We're just going to keep trying to pick off these races over summer."
Digby Road, raced by loyal stable clients Nathan Down, Ray Down, Trevor Kerr, Glen Moutray and Heath Condon, has had little luck this campaign, but got the breaks yesterday under apprentice Harry Coffey.
Behind the leaders at the top of the straight, Coffey waited for a rails run and was able to make his winning run on Digby Road ($3.60) inside runner-up La Bouche ($21), scoring by a length.