KEITH Cotchin headed to Lord's Raceway quietly confident of a victory with at least one of his three runners on Tuesday night.
The Elmore trainer left Bendigo delighted to have notched up a double, but perhaps a tad surprised that neither of his winners was the horse he'd fancied most.
Cotchin scored the first leg of a double with the Tasmanian visitor Juniper, who continued her good form since arriving at Elmore, with a second win in three starts on Victorian soil.
He then made it two-from-two four races later, when the seven-year-old gelding Rocknroll Noah broke through for an overdue win in a NR 61 to 76 pace, also giving Ryan Duffy a driving double for the night.
Hopes a treble were flickering for Cotchin, when the well-supported Brackenreid lined up in the NR 61 to 76 sprint.
But the five-year-old never really threatened and finished towards the rear of the field.
Cotchin was the first to admit Brackenreid had been a little 'off his game'.
"I'm just waiting on the results of a blood test - he really went below par," he said.
"That's the way it happens sometimes. I don't think it's anything too serious, they ran fairly quick and he was just off his game. He probably needed the run and will improve from that.
"We were a tad disappointed, but the other two (horses) were great.
"We thought Juniper would be a really good chance and thought she'd get that good run. Any of the (horses) who were going to be hard to beat were going to have to do a bit of work in the run and that's exactly how it panned out.
"The same with Rocknroll Noah, we thought he had a good draw and he hadn't been having much luck lately. I thought he was well over the odds."
Juniper, the four-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight and Artiface, debuted in Victoria with a convincing win at Elmore on Boxing Day.
The mare was unlucky not to have finished closer than third in the series final at Echuca on New Year's Day after striking plenty of interference and being forced to cover plenty of ground.
Her win at Lord's Raceway delivered connections the remaining half of her Vicbed bonus and has likely earned Juniper an extended stay on the mainland.
"She seems to be enjoying her racing over here and that style of racing suits her. She has a real nice turn of speed," Cotchin said.
Cotchin said he would keep an eye out for suitable races for both horses, with a quick freshen up on the cards for Rocknroll Noah.
"He's had two runs within a week, so that taxes him a little bit," he said.
"It should be about 10 days to a fortnight before we find something for him again."
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