RACHEL Backhouse’s Batemans Bay Cup win with The Devils Mark on Friday was simply meant to be.
First of all, there’s the obvious connection between Friday the 13th (Friday’s date was July 13) and the word “Devils” in the gelding’s name.
But there was one other omen that suggested it was going to be Backhouse’s lucky day on such a notorious date.
“We were glad he got number six because he’s got six over six on his brand,” she said.
However, The Devils Mark’s win – by a half-head/nose margin over Colrob and Chicka Pearson’s Diamond Jay – was particularly special to Backhouse for another reason.
“I’m pretty thrilled. It was my first winner as a trainer so I’m very, very happy,” she said.
“I was born in Batemans Bay and my family is from Batemans Bay so to win the Cup is definitely very exciting.”
The Devils Mark finished fourth over the same distance (1425m) at Moruya last month behind Jubilee, Gelderbelle and Luke Pepper’s Seanessy, all of whom also stepped out in Friday’s feature race.
And so Backhouse admitted to being somewhat in shock after the finish.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was waiting for the numbers to come up, I can tell you that,” she said with a laugh.
“The jockey (Brendan Ward) rode the horse to plan and we were just lucky that he hung in there at the end with the other two coming home.
“Brendan rode the horse perfectly and it was a huge, huge excitement.”
Backhouse and her family are no strangers to Batemans Bay Cup success after Moral Victory, a horse that her aunt and uncle part-owned, claimed the Cup in 1989.
But there can be no doubting that Backhouse shares a special connection with The Devils Mark – it is the only horse she trains and she also rode the gelding’s grandmother “at pony club and around town as a teenager”.
A high-quality field contested Friday’s Cup race but Backhouse said she always believed her gelding could get home for his maiden win.
“We knew he’s got the potential and everything but there were other horses in the race like ($4.40 favourite) Seanessy, Jubilee and Gelderbelle, so there were so many chances in it,” she said.
Backhouse was inundated with kind wishes after the race and so she praised other members of the Moruya racing fraternity for their displays of sportsmanship.
“I had all the trainers and jockeys congratulating me, so we have a lovely contingent of trainers down at Moruya,” she said.
“They’re lovely and they’re so helpful and kind to me – you couldn’t ask for anyone better than all of them.”
The Devils Mark will now break for “a holiday” despite pulling up fine.