Rain overnight and again on race morning failed to deter a huge crowd from attending and numbers were similar to the corresponding 2017 meeting at Parkes.
A plan by Dubbo trainer Connie Greig to have Naoko ridden closer to the lead bore fruit when the six year old mare won the McDonalds Coradgery Cup (1400 metres) at Parkes on Saturday.
“Naoko has been unlucky on several occasions when making runs from the back of the field and today Ken Dunbar has found a good position close to the pace,” trainer Connie Greig said.
Switched around the leaders heels when heads turned for home, Naoko ($8 to $6) hit the front and held on to win the feature race by a long neck from Getting Ready (Kath Bell-Pitomac, $15) with a half head to County Limerick (Josh Richards, $11).
Another Dubbo galloper returning to winning form was the Frank Hayes trained Bow Tie Benny ridden by Tony Cavallo in the Parkes Services Club Benchmark 52 Handicap,1200 metres.
After racing outside the leader, Bow Tie Benny ($15) staved off Victorian visitor Keepcalmandcarryon (Tiffany Jeffries, $7) and Running Broke (Akira Kajiya, $7).
Opening event, the PJL Group Maiden Plate (800m) saw an all the way win by the Robert Anderson, Cootamundra trained Heatherton (Josh Richards, $3.10) over Vulcain (Michael Heagney, $6) and Sissie’s Choice (Michael Hackett, $2.70 favourite ).
Aaron Sweeney then won the Telescope Tyres & Batteries Class 1 Handicap (1000m) on the flash looking Bitofastar, a chestnut with four long white stockings and small white patch under the ribs.
From the John Marzol stable at Wagga Wagga, Bitofastar ($8) travelled fourth to the turn and finished best to beat Midnight Serenade (Tony Cavallo, $2 fav) and Decades (Eleanor Webster-Hawes, $16).
After leading for home in the Agriwest Maiden Handicap (1200m) the $2.50 favourite Santa Clara (Billy Owen) looked beaten several times in the straight but raised another effort and won by a half length from Bodice (Tiffany Jeffries, $4.40) with Sovereign Default (Jamie Gibbons, $4) finishing third. Santa Clara is trained at Canberra by Matthew Dale.