Stable pet makes amends in Lightning

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Grand Mayson

Less than an hour after lamenting bad luck in one Trentham feature on Saturday afternoon, Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard struck gold in the next one with stable favourite Grand Mayson.

A perennial placegetter with 13 seconds and thirds through his 26-start career, the six-year-old son of Power produced a scintillating late burst to win the Listed Hardy Trade Supply Lightning Handicap (1200m).

Just 40 minutes earlier, Benner and Wynyard’s last-start Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Bonham overcame a rocky run and charged home for second in the Group 2 Fusion Electrical Wellington Guineas (1400m).

“Bonham got decked at the start of the Guineas, and she probably should have won the race,” Benner said. “But she’s a very, very good filly, and she ran a massive race today.

“This is a special result with Grand Mayson, who’s become a bit of a stable pet. He’s six years old now and we’ve had him for a while, and if you look through his record, he’s been ultra-consistent all the way through.

“We came into this race thinking that his A-game probably wouldn’t be enough, but maybe, if he brought his A-plus-game, he could be a chance. That’s what he’s done.”

An unlucky second over the same course and distance just seven days earlier, Grand Mayson was patiently ridden by Lisa Allpress in Saturday’s sprint feature. Coming across the junction on to the course proper and into the home straight, the pair still sat at the tail of the 10-horse field.

But Allpress drove Grand Mayson through a gap at the 200-metre mark and sent him into overdrive, rushing into contention within just a handful of strides.

In the last 100 metres, Grand Mayson burst through on the inside of Puysegur and Roch ‘n’ Horse, getting the better of that pair and edging them out in a thrilling three-way photo finish. The time was a rapid 1:07.93.

“Johno said, ‘Whatever you do, just go back, wait, and just wait more,’” Allpress said. “Then I had to try to get him to run and hope to get the splits.

“There were some tense moments, and for a while I was just thinking, ‘Oh well, at least he’s going to run a nice race,’ but then he sprinted really well. He’s a nice horse, and I’m sure he’ll keep going from here.”

Bought for $60,000 by Phill Cataldo Bloodstock at the 2016 Festival Sale at Karaka, Grand Mayson has now had 27 starts for five wins, 13 placings and more than $106,000 in stakes for owner Jen Campin.

“He’s very capable on his day, and he does have a devastating turn of foot,” Benner said. “We had a meeting over coffee this morning (with Allpress) about whether we should try to stick to the inside. He’s the kind of horse who, when you present him outside and he gets there too soon, he has the mindset of, ‘I can’t really be bothered.’ He’s a bit like me, working six days a week!

“But Lisa gave him a beautiful ride and it was a good win. They’ve run a pretty quick time.”

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