The Sledgehammer wins Forbes Cup for Wellington's Michael Mulholland

WINNING SMILE: Delighted jockey Kath Bell-Pitomac returns to the yard with The Sledgehammer after taking out the Forbes Cup. Photo: BRENDAN McCOOL
WINNING SMILE: Delighted jockey Kath Bell-Pitomac returns to the yard with The Sledgehammer after taking out the Forbes Cup. Photo: BRENDAN McCOOL

Michael Mulholland's incredible cup run goes on.

The Wellington trainer secured another feature event on Monday when The Sledgehammer flew home to take out the Bankstown Sports Club Forbes Cup (1600m) in scintillating and surprising fashion.

Mulholland has now won the biggest events on the calendar at Dubbo, Orange, Parkes, and Forbes in the past 12 months.

It also saw him defend his Forbes crown after Steamin' took out the event last year.

The shock result in the cup also maintained The Sledgehammer's stellar start to life in the Mulholland stables, with three wins now recorded from three starts since a move from Queensland.

He only had the one win when he arrived at Wellington and despite victories at Warren and Dubbo the past two starts the cup at Forbes was a huge step up.

That saw him jump a $12 outsider but it mattered little as in-form apprentice Kath Bell-Pitomac settled him midfield before bursting clear midway down the straight.

"He's going really well and today was just about bringing him up, because there's a few cups coming up, to see if he was in the grade or not," Mulholland told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

"I think he's in this grade.

"No weight on his back helped and soft track. He'll keep going hopefully."

Narranderra Cup winner Gunga Din ($4.40) was popular pre-race but it was the Luke Hilton-trained Highly Desired which jumped the $2.90 favourite.

Highly Desired, with Mikayla Weir in the saddle, set the pace in the $32,000 event from fellow noted front-runner Mackellar's Love ($16).

They led the way, ahead of Gayna Williams' former Country Championship finalist Noel's Gift ($41) while the Barry Molloy-trained hometown hope Caszar ($9) sat just ahead of The Sledgehammer.

The front-running duo continued to lead into the straight but challengers soon emerged from all over.

Caszar pushed up along the rails while Dubai Tycoon ($5.50) threatened out wide but it was Bell-Pitomac who got the most out of her mount.

WINNER: The Sledgehammer made it three-from-three when winning at Forbes on Monday. Photo: BRENDAN McCOOL

WINNER: The Sledgehammer made it three-from-three when winning at Forbes on Monday. Photo: BRENDAN McCOOL

The Sledgehammer burst through a gap between Highly Desired and Mackellar's Love to take control and blitzed his way to a two-length win.

It took his record overall to four wins from 21 career starts.

"When I first got him from Queensland he came off the truck lame," Mulholland added.

"We x-rayed him and found a few problems so we put him in the paddock for a few months, changed the shoeing and that's worked."

While he's three-from-three since his move to the western region Mulholland laughed it hasn't been enough to completely correct the six-year-old gelding's attitude.

"He's a bit better but he's still not happy," the trainer said.

Highly Desired was second in the cup while Caszar was a popular placegetter in third.

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