THE Browney family had plenty to celebrate at Saturday's Avoca Cup meeting.
Not only did Bendigo trainer Graham Browney claim victory in the day's feature event with Montauk, his grand-daughter Eva Barnstable won the strapper's prize for the best turned out horse in the cup field.
The seven-year-old gelding's cup win was reward for his trainer's persistence and patience.
Montauk was having his seventh start for Browney, who acquired the gelding from his former trainer Eric Musgrove in July this year, but had not finished any better than fourth in those seven runs.
Despite not having been placed in more than 13 months, since finishing second for his original trainer, 109-time Group 1-winner Chris Waller, in September 2018, Browney headed to Avoca with some confidence of a turnaround in fortunes.
"It was about time," he said.
"He's a horse I have had to get hard and fit. He was big and fat when he arrived and it's taken me a long time to get the horse right.
"He has won over half a million (dollars). They (previously) tried to place him over the hurdles, but all that time he couldn't stay.
"I paid $7000 for him and on Saturday he won $14,000, so he's done well.
"It just took me a long time to fix him up. He's definitely a flat horse and he can't stay - 1800m to 2000m is as far as he wants to go.
"He's a tough horse and it was a real fighting win."
Montauk showed plenty of ability in the early part of his career, winning six metropolitan races for Waller, including the Group 3 Summer Cup at Randwick on Boxing Day 2017.
The gelding was ridden by the in-form Samuel Payne, who made it two cup wins for Bendigo trainers in 15 days following his success on the Mick Sell-trained Penny To Sell in the Gunbower Cup.
Another Sell-trained runner Raid The Cabinet was second behind Montauk, with the Brent Stanley-trained Shaq finishing third to ensure an all-Bendigo region cup trifecta.
While it was Payne's first ride for Browney, the trainer insists it certainly won't be his last, with hopes the pair will team up again in the Wycheproof Cup on November 2.
"He hopped off and he said 'don't you ever put anyone else on this horse but me', but I was quick to tell him he is it," he said.
"Now that the horse has found himself, there's no reason he can't go on with it at Wycheproof.
Adding the icing on the cake to a cup win for Browney was his grand-daughter's win of the strapper's prize.
"I was pretty excited just about the strapper's award and then we won the cup," Eva said.
"It was a great day all-round."
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