Wentwood in Mackinnon Stakes reckoning after Bendigo Cup win

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Wentwood Wins Bendigo Cup

Wentwood claimed the Group 3 Bendigo Cup on Wednesday afternoon as an +750 chance, narrowly defeating the fast-finishing favourite, Smokin’ Romans, in the 2400m feature.

The Maddie Raymond-trained seven-year-old was coming off a close second to Group 1 Queensland Oaks winner Duais in the Coongy Cup at Caulfield a fortnight ago.

It was almost 12 months to the day that the former international won the St Arnaud Cup, with the gelding since adding a Werribee Cup, Terang Cup, and now a Bendigo Cup to his CV.

“He’s just so tough and he’s come so far in 12 months,” Raymond told Racing.com.

“It was nearly 12 months ago that he won the St Arnaud Cup and that was a sigh of relief, so to get here today and win this race and see how well he’s relaxing, that’s a huge achievement.

“I just wanted to see him relax.”

Jumping from barrier one under Harry Coffey, the son of Pour Moi got a decent run behind Constantinople and Tooradin before getting a winning split halfway up the straight.

“Obviously, barrier one was a bit of a question; he likes a bit of room,” Raymond said.

“Like I said, he’s come a long way.

“Harry gave him the perfect ride; the key to him is just get him to switch off and he did today.

“There were a few moments there where I thought we might’ve been in a bit of trouble and I’m sure harry will have worked for that one today.

“It’s a huge result for great owners and great for the stables.”

Raymond hasn’t completely decided on where her Country Cups champ will head next, with the Ballarat Cup an option, as well as a potential tilt at the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington in 10 days’ time.

“The Ballarat Cup was on the cards; we’ll just get him home and assess,” she said.

“We have the option to throw in a nom for the Mackinnon now; it’s 10 days away, might come around a little bit soon.

“He does like his runs spaced a little bit, but he’s bouncing through his runs quite well.”

While Raymond was thrilled with the fact that her horse appeared to have relaxed well throughout the race, the winning jockey said he was “buggered” after the horse over-raced for most of it.

“I’m actually a bit physically buggered,” Coffey said.

“He’s not an easy ride and I will admit, I didn’t get him to relax very well at all.

“He was really running on me the whole race and I was lucky that there was a strong tempo following Linda (Meech on Tooradin), and then when Michael (Poy on Constantinople) got caught wide he put a bit more pressure on.

“I was lucky that happened, because if Michael didn’t do that, Linda probably would’ve gave her horse a bit of a rest in front and we would’ve just overdid it.

“We only won by an inch; it’s amazing how the game works and things fell into place.”

There were four horses trying to win their way into the Melbourne Cup in six days, with Amade needing only a placing to gain a start in the race that stops a nation, but it was all over at the start when the +500 chance stood in the barriers and missed the jump by 20 lengths.

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