Warrnambool training legend Norm McCullagh and his classy sprinter Crimson Vixen weren’t able to win their hometown Cup in May, running third to Dyna Patty.
But they made amends in style in Friday night’s Group 2 Triple M Bendigo Cup Final (425m).
“I thought with luck we might win a maiden at Warrnambool but she’s really excelled,” said an emotional McCullagh.
Prior to Bendigo, McCullagh, who famously won four consecutive Sandown Cups with immortal stayer Bold Trease between 1986 and 1989, hadn’t had a great deal of luck in feature events with Crimson Vixen.
In addition to her Warrnambool Cup placing, the daughter of Barcia Bale had to be scratched from the semi-finals of the Golden Easter Egg and she fell on the first turn in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown Final.
Raced by the Mingo’s Mates Syndicate, a group of first-time owners involved with the Timboon Football Club, Crimson Vixen won at her Bendigo debut in 23.71s, before setting the pace in last Sunday afternoon’s Cup heats with a runaway 23.54s success.
After drawing box two for the $47,000 to-the-winner Cup Final, Crimson Vixen dominated the market, starting at $1.60, with Warragul Cup runner-up Jebrynah the $6.60 second elect from box seven.
While she didn’t fly out, Crimson Vixen was able to lead Jebrynah and she kicked clear of outsiders Time To Talk ($18.80) and Zipping Sassy ($21.80) in the straight, scoring by 1.66 lengths in 23.79s, boosting her impressive record to 12 from 20, including four of her last five.
“I thought if she began she’d be hard to beat but it was a very good field and there was a bit of pace on the outside of her,” McCullagh said.
“She didn’t begin as well as she usually does but she got away with it and that’s the main thing.
“She’s been a terrific little bitch to her owners.
“She’s got about 18 owners and you’re under pressure when you’re training for people. It was just nice for them, it’s their first dog and I’m very pleased for their sake that they got away with it. So the monkey’s off our back now.”
Earlier in the night, Walking On Air, trained by Bernard Seymour at Woodvale, continued the perfect start to her career in the $10,000 to-the-winner GRV Vic Bred Maiden Final (425m).
The homebred daughter of Walk Hard and Miss Belladonna started $1.70 favourite from box four and led all-the-way in 23.91s.
Well-bred favourite Aston It Is ($2.50), a son of Turanza Bale and champion stayer Sweet It Is, trained by Paul Abela, was a dominant 38.04s winner of the Hip Pocket Bendigo Winter Cup Final (660m), claiming the $10,000 winner’s purse.
Compiled by Molly Haines and Gerard Guthrie. Photos by Clint Anderson.