New Wave caused an upset victory, taking out the Local Farmers/Viterra Thevenard Cup at the Ceduna Christmas Races on Saturday.
The great run over 1600 metres in the feature race of the day caused a stir as punters had not considered the Tony Haddy-trained galloper as a chance for victory, but New Wave produced a powerful run by out-grinding his rivals.
Onward was the early race leader but had to work hard from his outside barrier and Revengeful – another fancied to do well – was caught three-wide along the back straight, while New Wave sat behind the leaders.
Onward looked good at the 600m mark when he dashed clear but he ran out of steam to be overtaken by Revengeful, who kicked to a length clear at the 300m mark.
However, it was New Wave who came along the rails with a powerful finish to claim victory.
It was an outstanding ride by visiting Victorian apprentice jockey Leticia Griffin in what proved to be her fourth career winner.
Favourite A Chiller was about 10 lengths from the lead at the 800m mark but ran home strongly for third.
Adelaide jockey Dean McWhinney rode a double on the five-race card, winning on Always Red in the Flinders Ports Maiden Plate and with Keep Digging in the Phill Stevens and Associates/Middleton Securities Handicap over 1600m.
Always Red finally broke through in her 18th career start, while Keep Digging began quickly in his race and was put in a perfect spot running third behind the early leader Fugitive.
The race did not change complexion at any stage and it always looked like Fugitive and Keep Digging would fight it out, with the gallopers having a great battle over the final 200m and Keep Digging sticking his neck out in front on the line.
It was also a welcome win for Victorian trainer Jim Scott, who has supported West Coast racing over the years.
Favourite punters were rewarded when Phantom Date took out the Ceduna Foodland Christmas Handicap.
Phantom Date led all the way in the 1000m dash yet had to survive a strong challenge from Invincible Me over the final 200 metres.
Only a short head separated the two runners on the finish post and it was also a welcome winner for apprentice Dylan Caboche after his well-publicised two-week suspension.
All Krupt was the other winner on the day for Port Lincoln trainer Byron Cozamanis and apprentice jockey Alice Lindsay.
An excellent crowd attended the meeting, with many worthy contenders in the Fashions on the Field, while the children had plenty of fun when Father Christmas made an appearance.
The Ceduna Racing Club is now looking forward to the 2018 Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Ceduna Cup on January 6, where football legend Tony Modra will be the guest.
Horses to follow at the event include Invincible Me, A Chiller, Onewood and Amber Diamonds.