Point Counterpoint delivers thrilling Ballina Cup victory

Brooke Stower had every reason to be smiling on Friday when winning the Ballina Cup on the Stirling Osland-trained Point Counterpoint. Photo: Bradley Photos.

‘What a win’ was the first thing Brooke Stower had to say following Point Counterpoint’s emphatic victory in Friday’s $65,000 Ballina Cup, and she had every reason to be grinning from ear-to-ear after the unlikeliest of wins.

Riding for Armidale trainer Stirling Osland, Stower was forced to travel at the rear of the field on the five-year-old, and turning for home, the pair looked a long shot of winning the race as the Matthew Dunn-trained Sagacious (Matthew McGuren) led the packing field, while the Lindsay Hatch-trained The Tyler (Ben Looker) ranged up as the likely winner. 

Point Counterpoint ($8.50) let down though, as did race-favourite Spangler (Andrew Mallyon, $2.80) for the Kris Lees yard, with Point Counterpoint finding the front and winning by 0.84 of a length from Spangler, while The Tyler ($5) hung on for third. 

“It didn’t go to plan out of the gates,” Stower said after the run. 

“He just didn’t show any speed, so I sort of went back, got in, and even coming to the turn I thought, ‘I’m a long way off them still’, and wow, Stirling had him 100% spot on, he looked amazing in the mounting yard, and the horse just loves to win.”

Stower breezed past the leaders at the finish, scoring what can only be described as a stylish victory and a result for the ages, but the experienced hoop admitted she was not confident until she eventually found the front. 

“When I got past them,” Stower laughed after being asked when was she was confident that she was going to make up enough ground to win. 

“Stirling asked me what my biggest fear was in this race, and I said, ‘not winning’, and on straightening, he was just so electric and just let down like a machine. 

“He is just a really nice horse and it’s a true credit to Stirling and his team and I can’t thank everyone enough for keeping me on him.”

Stower travelled north for just two rides, but she confirmed that her goal was to help the Armidale stable bring home the Ballina Cup. 

“I’ve had a lot of support from Stirling and his team, and to get this job done today; I pretty much only come for this ride,” Stower said. 

“I was lucky enough that Terry (McCarthy) put me on earlier, but it was a big risk. 

“Stirling had him 100% and he was very confident today. He can carry weight, and it was a pretty good track for him, and it (the race) was run to suit him.”

Point Counterpoint has been a terrific earner for connections, starting 24 times for 7 wins and 6 minor placings, while earning over $260,000 in prize money. 

After finishing second in the 2021 Armidale Cup to Beckford and winning the 2022 Moree Cup, Point Counterpoint qualified for the Little Dance and subsequently ran fourth to Dream Runner in the $500,000 Country Cup final at Royal Randwick back on November 1. 

Following his win in the Ballina Cup, he will be eligible to nominate for both the Big Dance and Little Dance finals at Royal Randwick on November 7, and Osland hopes his Bull Point gelding will be taking on the big boys in the $2 million final. 

“The truth is, it probably makes him pretty hard to place for us now, because he has got a big rating, and it is a good thing come the end of the year because we can guarantee ourselves a run (in the Big Dance),” Osland said. 

The Armidale trainer conceded it will be hard to place Point Counterpoint, but he said his galloper’s versatility meant he will be ready for the right races when they do pop up. 

“I suppose we just have to pick our moments and decide when we come up and the easy thing with him is that you can leave him between runs, he’s always up and ready to go,” Osland said. 

Point Counterpoint’s win in the Ballina Cup headlined what was a good day’s racing for the Ballina Jockey Club and for all results click here