CLASSY Victorian mare Epingle yesterday became the first horse for a decade to complete the Hobart - Launceston Cup double and the first ever to take home a $100,000 bonus.
Perfectly ridden by top Victorian jockey Craig Williams, Epingle circled the field from last to beat fellow Victorian visitor Gold To Go by almost a length, with local hero Geegees Blackflash a gallant third.
In just over two weeks in Tasmania, Epingle has earned her owners, the Gilgai Farm syndicate managed by Rick Jamieson, $370,000.
Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent said that after five days in the paddock to recover, Epingle would return to Victoria before embarking on a Sydney autumn carnival campaign.
``We've got a mares' race picked out for her then, hopefully, she'll run in the Sydney Cup,'' he said.
Kent said the $100,000 Tattsbet cups double bonus - which wasn't in force when Zacielo last achieved the feat in 2004 - had not been a consideration in targeting the Tasmanian races.
``We will take it, of course, but we just thought that these were the right races for her,'' the trainer said.
``We would have come here anyway.''
``The two cups here are both group 3 races and it's important for mares to win black type events.
``And, the prizemoney is good as well.
``This is a beautiful track and, as soon as I saw it, I knew we'd made the right decision.''
Kent said that Epingle had always shown promise, but had taken time to mature.
``This is only her third start over 2400 metres,'' he said.
``I've told the owners all along that, if they were prepared to wait, she would repay them.
``And, she's thrived since she's been in Tasmania, staying with the Bruntons (at Seven Mile Beach).''
Kent praised Craig Williams for his ride on Epingle.
``That's the way to ride this track,'' he said.
``I was a bit worried when she drew barrier 12, but I think it's actually worked in our favour.
``We had to go back from that draw - she is not blessed with great speed and, if we'd tried to go forward, we would have been posted out wide.''
Williams said that, having been instructed to go back early, he was happy with the way the race panned out.
``Even though there was plenty of pace and we were a long way off them, I thought I was following the right horse (Geegees Blackflash),'' he said.
``And, when I asked her to go, she accelerated really good.
``The best thing about her is that, when she hits the front and you think she's had enough, she hears the others coming and responds again.
``She's a very honest mare now that she's matured.''
Williams was riding in only his second Launceston Cup - he finished fourth on Napier Street at his only previous visit to the track in 1996.
Epingle was heavily backed, firming from $2.50 to $1.95 in the Tattsbet fixed-odds market.