Two New Zealanders and two Victorians combined for a runaway win in the $250,000 Launceston Cup at Mowbray on Wednesday.
The Kiwis were seven-year-old stayer Home By Midnight and his owner Kevin Pratt and the Victorians were trainer Patrick Payne and jockey Billy Egan.
In an all-interstate finish, $11 chance Home By Midnight scored by 2-1/4 lengths from Sydney visitor Taikomochi with another Victorian, Dogmatic, 2-1/2 lengths third.
Glass Warrior was the first local home in fourth place, with Tasmanian Derby winner Vamos Raffa fifth and favourite Toorak Affair sixth.
It was a totally dominant performance by the winner which connections put down to two factors – the addition of blinkers and a rain-affected track.
“He was able to settle closer than he did in the Hobart Cup (when sixth) without doing any work.
“He travelled so well that I was concentrating on not going too early and, when I did go, he put them away pretty easily.
“This is a big team effort from everyone at the stable and something to celebrate.”
Joe O’Neill, representing the owner, said the rain that fell on Wednesday morning made all the difference.
“The horse loves a soft track,” O’Neill said.
“I couldn’t believe how well he was travelling going past the winning past the first time.
“The blinkers really switched him on.
“He’d obviously settled in well since he’s been in Tasmania because before the race he was so relaxed it was amazing.”
It was Patrick Payne’s biggest win in Tasmania.
He has previously won the Devonport Cup with Fieldmaster.
“He’s not just a great trainer of stayers – he’s won Magic Millions two-year-old races,” O’Neill said.
“I believe he’s the best trainer in Australia.”
Excerpt from The Advocate by Greg Mansfield – https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/6648902/home-by-midnight-is-home-by-big-margin/