FORMER Kiwi galloper Gottino claimed his third country cup in as many starts when he thrashed his rivals in Saturday’s Bendigo Ford Marong Cup (2200m).
The five-year-old won by the best part of five lengths to add the Marong Cup trophy to previous wins in the Great Western and Burrumbeet cups.
Trained at Ballarat by Ken Moore, Gottino has now won nine of his 30 career starts and earned just under $120,000 in prizemoney.
“Two months ago he had a lung infection and wasn’t running so well, but he’s over that now and is running well,’’ Moore, 81, said.
“It’s the first time I’ve raced him over that distance and I wasn’t sure if he’d get that far, but he did it well.”
Ridden by Jason Benbow, Gottino ($2.70 fav.) sprinted clear of his rivals at the top of the straight to defeat Prussia Island ($11) and Baby Boy ($3.30).
Moore’s short-term goal with Gottino is the Colac Cup (2000m) in a fortnight.
Meanwhile, the Shaun Dwyer-trained Shy Girl nearly gave the Bendigo Spirit another reason to celebrate on Saturday.
Shy Girl was having her first start since Dwyer donated a racing share in the filly to the Bendigo Spirit.
The three-year-old had little luck in running, but managed to finish strongly and run second behind Taddei Tondo in race two.
That race also marked the return to race riding of former Bendigo-based jockey Katelyn Mallyon.
She rode the David Hayes-trained Tamtheel to eighth place at Bendigo.
The 18-year-old had not ridden in a race for eight months after a bad fall at Flemington. Mallyon was put in an induced coma after suffering fractures in her back and spent weeks in a neck brace.
While Gottino’s victory and the return of Mallyon were the highlights of the meeting, one negative was the fatal injury to stayer Dunenormous in race four.
Approaching the 200 metre mark Dunenormous broke down in the off fore leg and as a result was pulled up by Jason Lyon. A distressed Lyon did his best to help Dunenormous, but there was nothing that could be done for the gelding and the horse was euthanised on the track.