Well-travelled galloper Grinding Hard ended an 875-day winning drought, breaking through at long odds in the biggest boilover of the Albany Cup meeting at Percy Spencer Racecourse on Sunday.
Trained by Mark Wright, Grinding Hard jumped $97 on the tote as the rank outsider in the “Non Aqua Cup 1996” Handicap (1500m) and went on to score her first win since 2016 in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Hoop Julian Kokotajlo positioned the six-year-old behind the leader Big Summer and then pounced in the home straight to beat Read The Riot Act by a long neck.
Albany trainer Steve Wolfe notched a winning treble on cup day, highlighted by smart maiden winners One Point Lady and What About Moses.
One Point Lady justified his short price in the Farmers Centre Maiden (1230m) with a commanding two-length win on her return to racing.
Fellow three-year-old What About Moses also jumped favourite and proved too strong over 1500m, winning at his fifth career start when he held out Rose Thief by three-quarters of a length.
Shaun McGruddy rode the first two winners for Wolfe and the pair made it a treble when Sir Snugalot improved sharply to taste success for the first time in Wolfe colours.
The treble pushed Wolfe to 22 winners in the Great Southern this season and capped a big weekend after star sprinter My Greek Boy sat deep throughout the race in Pinjarra on Saturday but saluted to make it successive metropolitan Saturday wins.
Roy Rogers moved his winning tally to 17.5 after Messiah was part of the dead heat in the last, but earlier promising three-year-old Classic Jack staked his claim for a start in the Group 2 WATC Derby in April.
Ridden by Daniel Staeck, Classic Jack made it back-to-back Albany wins, this time over 2100m, and Rogers said he would consider a tilt at the 2400m 3YO feature on April 13.
“We’d be silly not to look at the Derby,” Rogers said. “He was off the track, it was a tough win and they ran a fair time.”
“He had to win today to go down that track.”
Rogers also had a successful weekend with Zetorio powering home to finish second to Samizdat in the $150,000 Magic Millions WA 3YO Trophy (1200m) at Pinjarra when resuming from a spell.
Rising sprinter Captain Stirling made it four wins in five starts after thrashing his rivals in the $70,000 Peel Flower House Handicap (1000m) by 2 ½ lengths with Staeck in the saddle.