Cavanough and Nock get fingers on Wellington Boot

Braith Nock wins the 2024 Wellington Boot on the Brett Cavanough-trained Fingers Hunter. Image: Racing Photography.

On Sunday, apprentice jockey Braith Nock celebrated his biggest career win and, in doing so, helped his boss, Brett Cavanough, land an elusive Wellington Boot.

Racing Fingers Hunter, a $60,000 Inglis Classic sale purchase, the two-year-old made the young jockey work for the win but held on for a tough victory in the $200,000 feature event.

Racing over 1100m, the Brutal filly was slow away from gate two, but Nock made ground up on the rails. 

The pair turned for home in fourth position behind early leader Canamble (Jenny Duggan, $3.70).

Fingers Hunter ($8.50) went a tad wide on the turn, but she balanced up and edged the Damien Lane-trained Sneaky Sofia (Patrick Scorse, $21) by a head, while Canamble (Jenny Duggan, $3.70) was a length and a half away in third. 

“She didn’t really handle the track one bit,” Nock told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“She was a little bit sluggish away, but she mustered into a good spot behind the favourite.

“She was getting out around the bend and drifted on the turn, and I thought she did well to get the win.”

Fingers Hunter was having only her second career start at Wellington following a first-up third to the Scott Singleton-trained Beyond My Ken at Scone on March 22. 

Nock said the stable travelled to Wellington confident that their filly was ready for a bold showing. 

“She’s shown a bit of ability at home, and her first-up run was good. It was a good race for her,” Nock said. 

“She can run time, and she’s got a good turn of foot. Eventually, I think she will get back and race over a further distance; that’s where she will be a bit more comfortable.”

For Nock, he was thrilled to win the biggest race of his career but happier to do it for his boss and mentor. 

“It’s definitely the highlight of my career so far, but it’s even more special to do it for Brett,” Nock said. 

“That’s his first Wellington Boot; he said he always wanted to win one, and he’s ticked off that box now.”

It was good to see country stables win the feature races on Sunday, which turned out to be a big day at Wellington. 

In the Wellington Cup (1700m), Mudgee trainer David Smith combined with Queanbeyan-based apprentice jockey Coriah Keatings to win with Lockdown Gamble. 

Finishing strongly in the $100,000 event, connections survived a protest, with the Marc Conners-trained and Deanne Panya-ridden Danish Prince ($6) a neck away in second. 

The Brett Robb-trained Sizzle Minizzle (Grant Buckley, $14) was third and a half-length behind the winner.

The Wellington Town Plate (1100m) was won by the Cody Morgan-trained Casino Lord (Aaron Bullock, $5.50), which won comfortably from the Clint Lundholm-trained Raging Rush (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $6) in second and the Richard Jackson-trained Shipshape (Ash Morgan, $15) in third. 

On Friday, the Wellington Iron Horse was won by the Peter Nestor-trained Blue Guitar (Anthony Cavallo, $4.20), which put on a staying clinic when defeating the Roy McCabe-trained Our Orator (William Stanley, $6) in second and the Michael Mulholland-trained Eva’s Deel (Aaron Bullock, $4.40) in third.