TRAINERS Michael Trinder and Scott Brunton had mixed emotions after their horses Thorn Man and Am I There Yet dead-heated in the $20,000 Deloraine Hotel Easter Cup at Spreyton yesterday.
Trinder was reserved in his celebrations, as he thought Thorn Man was ``a bit unlucky'' not to win outright.
However, Brunton was delighted with the result, describing it as ``a bonus'', as Am I There Yet is better suited over longer distances.
The dead heat completed doubles for the two jockeys involved, with Erhan Kacmaz (Thorn Man) also scoring on Classic Outlaw and David Pires (Am I There Yet) winning earlier on Minute Repeater.
On a day dominated by the apprentices, Ismail Toker also rode two winners (Churinga and Bundaleda) and Millie Whitehouse-Summers landed her first double on Magestic Impulse and Willow The Wisp.
Trinder said that Thorn Man, who has now won five races in a row, got shuffled back in the field at the 800 metres. ``It probably cost him outright victory but, having said that, he had some luck in the home straight when he got a good run through the field,'' the trainer said.
Brunton said that Am I There Yet was essentially a 2400m horse, and to win over 1880m was a good result.
``He's a very good horse and will stay all day,'' the trainer said.
``His target is the St Leger at Mowbray next month where he will carry only 54 kilograms and, even though he will probably come up against Geegees Blackflash, I think he can win it.
``He will have one more run over 2100m as a lead-up.''
MINUTE Repeater made it two wins in a row and helped pay for a trip to Japan for his connections when he took out the $20,000 Fay's Jewellers Diamond Handicap.
The lightly raced four-year-old is owned by Ayano Nishitani, wife of Tasmanian-based Japanese jockey Yassi Nishitani.
The Nishitani family is about to head home for three months.
Yassi Nishitani said it would be a ``working holiday'' as he hoped to get some race rides while away.
His wife further contributed to the holiday fund with a $66 bet on Minute Repeater - because he was Race 6, No. 6, barrier 6 and, before yesterday, had won 6 races.
The win continued the perfect record of jockey David Pires on Tegan Keys-trained horses - he is unbeaten in three rides for the stable.
TRAINER Glenn Stevenson knows that Class 1 Handicap winner Classic Outlaw is a smart horse but is not sure how many more races he can win.
``He's got plenty of ability but a shocking action,'' Stevenson said.
``I don't know whether his legs can get him through many more runs, so we will enjoy them while we can.''
Stevenson said the four-year-old appreciated working on the beach.
``Since I've got him fit, we only ride him once a fortnight,'' the trainer said.
``I'll probably try to keep him for races at Spreyton or maybe Mowbray and stay away from the wet tracks in Hobart.''
GEEGEES Firstword scored a runaway in the Maiden Plate but almost didn't make it to the race.
Trainer Leon Wells said that the gelding was galloped on while finishing second at Mowbray last Wednesday.
``We've been patching him up ever since and I wasn't sure until this morning if he'd be fit to run,'' Wells said.
Given a gun ride by Bulent Muhcu, Geegees Firstword sat just off the pace before rounding up the two leaders on the home turn and racing clear.
``I know it wasn't an overly strong field but he's not a bad horse,'' Wells said.
The Wells family completed a double when Magestic Impulse, trained by Leon's son Dean, ran home strongly to beat favourite Hammer Time by a nose in the Claude Best Memorial.
It was a fitting result, as the late Claude Best, a former leading trainer, was Dean Wells's grandfather.