Louise Day bags quartet, Port Douglas claims inaugural Tuggeranong Cup

Port Douglas was the winner of the inaugural Canberra Southern Cross Club Tuggeranong Cup.
The Matthew Kelley trained galloper was dominant underneath Jess Taylor over the mile. Photo: Thoroughbred Park.

It was a big day on the track at Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park on Friday, with the running of the inaugural but delayed Tuggeranong Cup after it was initially washed out on Good Friday.

Dominating the headlines after the meeting was Irish jockey Louise Day, who rode four winners on the program. 

Day kicked off proceedings with a victory in the first race, riding the Joseph Ible-trained Miss Adrenalin ($3.80) to victory in the 1400m Class One Handicap before bringing up her double on the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Matronymic ($1.80) in the 1200m Maiden Handicap. 

Her third came in the 1200m Class Two Handicap when guiding the Gratz Vella-trained Onya Lional ($8) to a comfortable win, and to cap off a stellar day in the saddle, Day took out the $34,000 TAB Federal 1300m Benchmark 70 Handicap on the Matthew Dale-trained Unique Prince (4.60).

She had never ridden a quarter of winners before, and when Day won on Onya Lional, it was just her second-ever treble. 

“I had a think about it in the (jockey’s) room, and I think I’ve only ridden one treble before, so it’s been a while between drinks,” Day laughed. 

“I’m just really happy and grateful for the support.”

Day, who has big books of rides at Kembla Grange on Saturday and Gundagai on Sunday, hopes to continue the excellent form as major country racing carnivals approach.  

“I’ll just try and keep on a roll now and try and get on the right horses at the right times going into those carnivals, and hopefully, something can lead me there,” Day said.

In the feature on the Day, the Canberra Southern Cross Club Tuggeranong Cup (1600m), the Matthew Kelley-trained Port Douglas (Jess Taylor, $9) kept up his good recent form to win by 2.83 lengths from the Gary Colvin-trained Sizzling Cat (Holly Durnan, $4.40), while 3.12 lengths back was the Len Hodgson-trained Diamond Class (Damon Budler, $5.50). 

The six-year-old has found some decent form following a 14-week spell, winning twice in three starts, and Kelley said a throat operation had made all the difference. 

“He’s an absolute gentleman to have around the stables; there wouldn’t be a horse that deserves that win, and his last couple of wins, more than he does.

“That is his third run back from a throat operation; his throat was very bad before we did the operation, and obviously, it’s done him justice.”

In another significant result, popular South East jockey Kayla Nisbet was able to ride her first winner since returning to the saddle. 

Nisbet, who recently spent two months on the sideline disqualified, was thrilled to get the monkey off her back at Canberra when winning on the Gratz Vella-trained Beau Rock in the 1000m Benchmark 65 Handicap. 

“It’s obviously hard having time off, with it being forced, but through a disqualification made it much worse,” Nisbet said.

“I’m really happy to be back riding and getting support from the local trainers I was riding for before.

“I was just rapt that Gratz could give me a good ride today, and he (Beau Rock) always looked like he was going to be hard to beat and proved that.”

For all results from Canberra, click here.