CHARLIE Castles might have had to settle for a seventh with the hometown hope Brackenreid in the $10,000 Elmore Pacing Cup, but the visiting New South Wales driver still had plenty to smile about on Tuesday night at Lord's Raceway.
The 21-year-old, who has been camped at trainer Keith Cotchin's property at Elmore in recent weeks with a team of his boss James Rattray's horses from New South Wales, ended the night with a double from his three drives.
Castles started the night in blazing fashion with a victory aboard the three-year-old trotting gelding Regency, before steering home the four-year-old pacing gelding Jigamaroo with his second drive.
The affable youngster completed his night's work as an honorary Elmore local with a seventh in the cup aboard Brackenreid.
The wins were his first on Victorian soil and advanced his season and career tallies to 22 and 36 respectively.
Castles, who started his career in Tasmania before joining Rattray at Exeter in New South Wales last year, has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and responsibility down south for a couple of weeks.
He was understandably thrilled to have broken through on Regency early on Elmore Pacing Cup night, after an unlucky sixth on the same horse and a near miss on Jigamaroo at Maryborough earlier in the month.
"He goes okay, I don't mind him actually and he got the job done alright tonight," he told Trots Vision.
"I thought I had a bit of a chance (at Maryborough), not 100 per cent on that last corner, but before that he was trotting pretty well.
"He's a really nicely built Majestic Son (gelding) - I think he'll end up being a nice moneyspinner for the owners."
A maiden win for Regency, who started as the $3.30 favourite, came in the three-year-old's fourth career start.
Castles was thrilled to back up the win with another aboard Jigamaroo, who came from one out and four back at the bell to claim the leaders in the straight, and notch a polished win in a fiercely contested race.
"He sort of likes it when the speed is on and he can just plug away," Castles said.
"He's a bit of a funny one up the straight, he doesn't feel like he is going to run past them, but he was good.
"I don't know what the time was, but it was solid all the way and he just kept finding which was great.
"There wasn't much happening in the back straight, but I wanted to save him as much as I could and hope for a bit of luck that the gap would come and it did, which was lucky.
"He did the job well after that.
"He's Regency's best buddy, so he keeps him relaxed and calm when they go to the races."
Castles, who has one drive at Echuca on Thursday night, will drive another of Rattray's horses Rossini in the Group 3 Breeders Crown Graduate Cup at Melton on Friday night.
The five-year-old gelding, a last start winner at Menangle on October 30, is some hope, according to Castles.
Rossini is on his third stay at Elmore having been trained by Cotchin, on loan from Rattray, in separate stints in 2019 and '20, resulting in four wins.
The son on Mach Three and the mare Miss Fantastic has won four of his past six starts.
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