IN-FORM Bendigo galloper Vungers enhanced his claim as Victoria's new country Cups king with a second Cup victory in 13 days.
The Brendon Hearps-trained seven-year-old delivered yet another bold front-running performance, running his 10 rivals ragged to win the $100,000 Wodonga Cup (1590m) on Friday.
It was a performance even more convincing than his polished victory in the $70,000 Donald Cup (1620m) earlier in the month.
Ridden to perfection by Zac Spain, Vungers put three lengths on his rivals at the 600m and never looked like being caught, eventually dashing away to a 4.2 length win.
It was an all-Bendigo quinella, with the Brent Stanley-trained Coming Around battling his way into second under the top weight of 61.5kg, narrowly ahead of locally-trained hope Quiet Lucky.
But all honours lied with Vungers, who made it back-to-back Cup wins, and notched up his sixth career wins in 32 starts.
Hearps was quietly proud of his dual Moonee Valley winner's new status as a dual-country Cups winner.
"He's always showed a bit, he's just an honest old horse - no superstar, as I keep saying," he said.
"But he's no slouch either.
"Earlier on (in his career) he looked like being really good, until he had a tendon injury and he's just potted along since.
Hearps had initially contemplated spelling Vungers after his fourth in the $500,000 Melbourne Cup Country Final (1600m) at Flemington, but is counting his blessings after emerging with a pair of country Cups.
"We were always going to go to The Valley, but he's too highly-rated and there's nothing there for him, only tomorrow (Saturday), and I wouldn't put him over 2000m," the trainer said.
He acknowledged the crucial role the Bendigo water walker had played in Vungers' rehabilitation from injury.
"He lives on that about three times a week and he just loves it. It's been good for him," he said.
Hearps expects to extend the gelding's preparation, with one possible target being an 1800m handicap at Flemington in early December.
He believes the biggest thrill from another Cup win would be reserved for Vungers' owners.
"They've been great owners of the stable, 25 years or so, and they're rapt," he said.
"It will be another big weekend again."
It was also a Cups double for Spain, who has only ridden the seven-year-old twice for a pair of feature race wins.
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