A relationship forged 11 years ago in Sydney struck gold at Toowoomba on Thursday when local galloper Lucky Leak scored an emotional win in the $150,000 Listed Weetwood Handicap.
Trainer Patrick Sexton struck up a friendship with Lucky Leak’s owner Frank Mittiga many years ago when he was foreman for Gai Waterhouse and Mittiga was the senior part-owner of brilliant sprinter Excellerator.
“We go back a long way and I am grateful for all the faith Frank and his wife Maree have put in me,” Sexton said.
“To win this race for them makes it all the more special.”
Chasing his fourth consecutive win, Lucky Leak ($2.80 fav) chased the hot speed set by Canberra visitor Zaratone and then raced clear when rider Bobby El-Issa slipped him some leather in the straight.
Craiglea Falcon ($14) ran a big race to finish 1-1/4 lengths back second with Silver Scholar ($7.50) flashing late to be a neck away third.
Zaratone ($5) battled bravely in the straight to finish fifth with last year’s winner Poor Judge ($9) finishing a disappointing last.
Sexton achieved a lifelong dream in winning his home town sprint and paid homage to his late mother Barbara who died on April 10 in 2009.
“This is very exciting for me and is easily the best thrill I’ve ever had in racing,” Sexton said.
“I could feel Mum up above giving him a push in the straight and this is for her.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her and I just want to say ‘I love you Mum’.”
Sexton couldn’t contain his confidence with Lucky Leak pre-race and heaped praise on the horse’s performance.
“Full credit goes to the horse. He chased all the way today and showed plenty of heart to keep finding under pressure in the straight,” he said.
In the $100,000 Toowoomba Cup (2100m), tough stayer Humma outstayed his rivals to score a determined win for premier Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote.
Confidently ridden by Larry Cassidy, Humma ($8) went forward three deep from the 900m and sustained his run up the Toowoomba hill under the steadier of 58kg to score a three-quarter length win.
Local galloper Topping ($3.40 fav) finished a further three-quarters of a length back second after trying to match strides with the winner in the straight with Deagon gelding Arizona Sunset ($26) a half-length away third.