It was 62 starts in the making, but Camp Cove finally broke through for a maiden win at Dubbo on Monday.
Trained by Connie Greig, the Toronado mare is as consistent as the day is long, having placed 19 times while earning connections over $90,000 in the lead-up to Monday’s 1200m Maiden.
With Clayton Gallagher in the saddle, the well-supported $2.90 second favourite finished strongly to win by a length and a quarter, taking her career earnings to $107,600.
It was a bittersweet moment for Greig, as Camp Cove had been a good little money spinner when consistently placing at Sky 1 maiden races.
“To be honest, we were hoping to get to 100 grand before she won,” Greig laughed when interviewed by NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“Every one of those placings was at TAB meetings, and honestly, it’s just been a fun thing having her as a maiden.
“Of course, it’s good that she’s won, but it became a thing with her not winning, and now she will need to step up in class.”
When asked what the difference was at Dubbo and why she was able to power to victory, Greig said race experience played an essential part in the win.
“It’s the old saying that she just met one better in every other start, but it’s true, and there was always one better,” Greig said.
“It wasn’t for lack of trying, and for her to be as consistent as she is, she was always going to win, but at the same time, yesterday, she won on experience.
“Don’t be surprised if the horses she beat yesterday come out and beat her next time; they’ll be Class Two and Three horses, and she’ll probably still be a Class One.”
Raced initially by Matt Cumani in Victoria, Camp Cove was placed five times when trained south of the border before ending up in Kody Nestor’s care.
She placed once for the former Dubbo trainer before he dissolved his operation, and the ownership group sent the mare to Greig.
Slowly but surely, owners dropped off as Camp Cove continued her non-winning ways, but Greig had faith she would continue to earn money and eventually win a race.
“She is so quiet, and you wouldn’t know she is there half the time,” Greig said.
“She lives on a diet because she is too fat, and even yesterday when she came home after her race, she was walking the fence because she wanted to eat and was waiting for dinner.
“The owners all dropped out one by one, and each time, I took up their share until I owned 100%, and because I owned her, I didn’t have to convince owners what we were doing, and I knew I was doing the right thing, and she’s proven that.”
Greig doesn’t mind racing at the non-TABs and picnics, and Camp Cove could soon be heading in that direction.
“I’ll wait and see what her rating is, but while she is competitive, we’ll probably stick to the TAB races,” Greig said.
“She can go to the picnics and is suited to 1200m and 1400m, so that is an option.”
Greig rekindles her Picnic Champion Series campaign with a big team entered at Bedgerabong on Saturday.
The two-time winning NSW picnic trainer of the year, who won back-to-back Picnic Champion Series finals with Hemsted in 2022 and Inzaghi in 2023, will again target picnic meetings in 2024, with the likes of Gossip, Linden Tree, Valadyium, Inzaghi, Pahang, and Individualist set to be the stable’s Picnic Cup campaigners.
“I probably won’t have as many (runners) as last year, but they’ll swap around and go to a lot of those meetings,” Greig said.
“I’ve got enough to go each week and alternate my cup horses, so that’s good.
“Plus, I’m sure Leo (Ribeiro) has been tearing his hair out waiting for the picnic races to return.”