A HOMETOWN cup berth remains a possibility for Bendigo trainer Paul Banks following Rex Bell’s third-placing over the cup distance at Bendigo Jockey Club on Wednesday.
The lightly-raced six-year-old made up a pleasing amount of ground in the straight in the 2400m benchmark 70 event, won by the Andrew Payne-trained Not an Ambiturner.
Formerly-trained by Winx’s trainer Chris Waller, Rex Bell was having his fourth race for Banks and started at $26.
The gelding was an unlucky fifth in his previous start at Ballarat and placed second and third in his only other two starts for Banks at Kilmore and Echuca.
He was ridden on Wednesday by champion jockey Damien Oliver.
Ballarat trainer Payne looks to have unearthed a future country cups winner in Not an Ambiturner, who won first-up after a three week freshen-up, to give Jye McNeil a riding double.
The lightly-raced gelding has now won two of his four race starts, with Payne undecided on his next move with the four-year--old.
“He was a really unruly horse to start off with, but we knew he was tough and is putting it into his racing,” Payne said.
“He pulled a muscle and we had to turn him out for a three to four months, right at a stage when he would have been racing in his three-year-old career.
“But who knows, it might have been a blessing now he’s matured and is holding up really well.
“One day we hope to measure up to some country cups, but whether this time in will be too much for him, we’ll see how he pulls up.”
Also headed to the country cups circuit will be the Mick Sell-trained Penny to Sell.
The seven-year-old mare, ridden by Harry Grace, produced a boilover in the day’s final event to win a 1300m benchmark 70 handicap at 150-1.
Sell said he had not been terribly confident heading into the race, but would take the win.
“She did win her trial here a week and a half ago and has definitely been going well, but she races better over 2000 (metres),” he said.
Darren Weir took the day’s training honours with a double in races one and six with My Boss and emerging galloper Ringerdingding.