John Peiti’s Victorian crusader crosses the border to claim Tumbarumba Cup

MORUYA trainer John Peiti’s Halfashot made the most of a rare New South Wales appearance on Saturday by taking out the Tumbarumba Cup in stunning fashion.

The six-year-old gelding charged home in the 1400-metre feature race to claim Cup glory in a class record time of 1:23.30.

Peiti’s well travelled charger beat Rodger Waters’ Exchancellor by 2.75 lengths, with Surfcoast Racer a further half-head back in third place.

“He pretty well controlled the race from up front, so it was a fairly dominant win,” Peiti told the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner.

“He’s a horse that races on pace, or if there is a lot of speed he’s just behind the pace. But the other day, we tried to keep the lid on him early and then halfway through the race he went and did his own thing and he won quite comfortably in the end.”

A unique set of circumstances surround Halfashot – he is not permitted to race on NSW tracks that run in a clockwise direction due to a kicking action that has been deemed by stewards as dangerous to other horses.

As a result, the gelding runs a vast majority of his races in Victoria, where tracks run anti-clockwise.

However, the Tumbarumba track, about two hours south-east of Wagga Wagga, runs in an anti-clockwise direction and so Peiti was given the all clear to have his charger in the Cup.

With that in mind, the Moruya trainer said the weekend’s victory was all the more satisfying. 

“It does (make it more special). The horse has got a bit of talent and he’ll win more races,” he said. 

“He’s basically got an embargo on him, so he can’t race on all tracks but he can at Tumbarumba and Berrigan where they go anti-clockwise like they do in Victoria.”

Halfashot also stepped out at the Tumbarumba track last year and finished second in the feature race behind Larrikin Joe.

So when asked if he was surprised by the margin of victory this time around, Peiti replied: “No, not at all. He raced well in his last start down in Victoria at Sale, so he was just getting back to his peak fitness after a couple of runs.

“He ran down there last year and this time he was on the way up in his preparations and he was probably peaking on the day fitness-wise.

“It’s a sharp-turning track and it’s uphill and downhill, it’s not a flat track like we have here at Moruya. Some horses just wouldn’t handle it at all.”

Talented country jockey Brad Clark was in the saddle for Saturday’s win and Peiti said he was "more than happy with Brad’s ride”.

“Brad knows the track, he won the previous race as well and he’s a very talented rider from out that area.”

Peiti said Halfashot would head back to Victoria for his next race. 

“I’ll expect him to run well,” he said.  

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