Canberra trained Gametime caused an upset win in the opening event of the Cowra Jockey Club's Christmas meeting on Saturday relegating odds on favourite Neon Moon ($1.70) to third position with the Cowra trained Shiny Agent ($5) in second place.
(min cost $8)
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The three placegetters controlled the race from the start with well travelled Neon Moon holding a more than two length break at the 600 metre mark.
Now trained by Garry Kirkup, Gametime and Shiny Agent took over turning for home with the former prevailing over Shiny Agent (Eleanor Webster-Hawes) to win by a neck.
A daughter of Rubick, Gametime started its career with leading Rosehill trainer Gerald Ryan before being transferred to Kirkup and then to Tasmanian trainer Sigrid Carr.
The now four year-old had four starts in the Apple isle before being transferred back to Kirkup prior to Saturday's win.
Resuming from a spell, Shiny Agent, a full brother to former top sprinter Zarhron, produced a much improved run at his fifth start in a race.
With another gritty performance Red Marauder made it three wins from the last four starts when taking out the 1100 metres Raine & Horne Benchmark 50 Handicap on Saturday at Cowra.
Continuing a long running successful association between Bathurst trainer Paul Theobald and Dubbo jockey Ken Dunbar, the six year old chestnut gelding Red Marauder was under siege in the straight but fought back to win recent races at Bathurst and it was a similar story at Cowra.
Holding a narrow lead turning for home Red Marauder broke clear from Tilly's All Class before Sizzleonthebridge issued a serious challenge halfway down the straight.
Under strong riding from Ken Dunbar, Red Marauder ($3) held on to win by a long head from Sizzleonthebridge (Hannah Williams, $2.80) with Tycoon Tily (Henny Ede, $4) almost two lengths away in third.
Former jockey Tony Hodder was a likeable larrikin and it was appropriate his Memorial race was won by another fun loving character, the Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary, with Ramachandra.
Hodder, who passed away recently at his home town Cowra, had success riding at Central West tracks and later rode a good number of winners in country Queensland, several being for prominent trainers.
Ramachandra (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $4) led throughout to win the 1375 metres Tony Hodder Memorial Maiden Plate by nearly two lengths from Alpha Lane (Jordan Mallyon, $1.70 favourite) and Bycromac (Akira Kajiya, $17).
Cleary's father Frank just missed out on a win later.
Cowra Jockey Club president Peter Ford described Saturday's meeting as one of the best Non-TAB days in recent times, in relation to attendance and gate takings.
"Thanks to Cowra for supporting our Christmas meeting, " Ford said.
"People on course seemed to be having a good time, they've been in a festive mood, now bring on the Cowra Cup meeting," he said.
The $32,000 Cowra Cup will be run over 1700 metres on Sunday, January 17 with the $28,000 Cowra Japan Cup over 1200 metres held on the same day.
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