JOCKEY Linda Meech made a triumphant return to her old stomping ground with victory on New Zealand galloper Titch in yesterday’s $50,000 Terang Cup (2150m).
Meech, who started her riding career under Stawell trainer Terry O’Sullivan, spent the majority of her apprenticeship racing in the Western District at tracks like Terang.
Her win on top-weight Titch yesterday was her second in the Terang Cup, five years after she won on the Peter Moody-trained Macau Causeway in 2008.
“I cut my teeth on tracks around the Western District,” she said after the win yesterday.
“I like to win any of the country cups but especially ones like Terang, being apprenticed around this area.”
Meech produced a perfect ride on the eight-year-old, which is based with New Zealand trainer Kevin Myers’ Ballarat stables.
She positioned Titch just off the early pace, set by the Bill and Symon Wilde-trained Watto’s Racer, and made her move nearing the 1600-metre mark.
While Watto’s Racer led until after rounding the home turn, the Pat Carey-trained Dame Claire was second in the running, with Titch third.
Meech said she was confident of winning the race rounding the turn as they loomed up on the outside of the leaders.
They hit the front about 200 metres out, holding off the Michael Moroney-trained Lordoftheparrots by three quarters of a length, while the $1.90-favourite Hurdy Gurdy Man was a further length away third. “I was a little bit worried about the weight,” Meech said of the 62.5 kilograms Titch had to carry.
“I was only worried down the straight whether the others would catch him.”
Titch was an emerging jumper last season, finishing second in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown in July and third in the Lafferty Hurdle at Warrnambool.
While the Darren Weir-trained Hurdy Gurdy Man did finish strongly, it wasn’t as quick as punters hoped, having dropped out last from the start. Rounding the home turn he was still two lengths last.
Weir did have some good news from Terang — the sight of Melbourne Cup hope Puissance De Lune in full flight. The horse, based at Weir’s Warrnambool stables, was put through a track gallop in between races as he builds towards his autumn campaign ahead of a shot at the Melbourne Cup next spring.
The imported galloper shot to prominence with wins in the Bendigo Cup and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival last spring.
Weir took the training honours with two wins for the day in the major supporting races at Terang. Favourite Baremin saluted in the $25,000 1400-metre handicap while What A Treat claimed the 0-68 handicap (1000m), which also carried a $25,000 purse, for the stable.