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  • Provincial Racing NSW


DAMIEN Lane took a shine to a Sebring colt at the 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale, but thought he might be out of his price range.

To the Wyong trainer’s surprise, a representative from vendor Yarraman Park came back to him after he was passed in and a deal was done for a sale at $30,000.

It has taken 14 starts – and some heartache along the way – before the now four-year-old gelding, who races as Red Cobra, shed his maiden status at Wyong yesterday.

Making the breakthrough that much better was the fact that Lane’s apprentice Anna Roper’s success on Red Cobra in the Provincial Maiden Handicap (1600m) was indeed the first at her home track of her 82 career victories to date.

“I trained the brothers Choice Larga and Another Larga for a great group of owners, and both were good winners,” Lane explained.

“As both had been retired, they were looking to get involved in another horse.

“I quite liked this colt (Red Cobra) at the sale and was pleased to be able to get him for them.”

“He showed ability right from the start and was placed at his first three starts (one at Muswellbrook and the other two at Wyong) as a two-year-old.

“But his form tapered off the next season and he had a few problems.

“Earlier this year, we sent him for a scintigraphy scan which showed he had issues in behind, and we went through all the rehab with him.

“After six months between runs, he came back in September as a four-year-old with a first-up fourth at Muswellbrook, then was runner-up at his next three starts at Wyong (at $101), Newcastle and Wyong as his distances were gradually increased.

“It was such a relief to see him finally get a win on the board yesterday and, whilst confident he would run well again, my sole concern was that he would get too far back at Wyong being a backmarker.

“We devised a plan for Anna to get on her bike early rather than sit and wait, and she did it perfectly, taking off from the 700m.”

Red Cobra is the first foal of the Denman mare Dendee, who won nine races in West Australia from 1100m to 1600m, including a Listed 1400m success at Ascot.

Red Cobra’s win lifted his earnings to $60,000 – double his purchase price – and he is already a bargain.

Even more so when you consider Dendee’s next two foals – both colts by I Am Invincible – fetched $120,000 and $625,000 respectively.

Red Cobra’s younger half-brother, who was sold at the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast in January and will race as Embassy for Royal Randwick trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, was sent for a spell after trialling on the Kensington track in September.

Lane clinched his 11th winner of the season as he edges toward a career 300, and confirmed his talented 21-year-old apprentice Roper will be in action at Saturday’s The Hunter metropolitan meeting at Newcastle.

“Anna rode Much Much Better work yesterday morning at Wyong for Sara Ryan (who won last Tuesday’s $3m Big Dance with Attractable), and is hoping she runs him in the Benchmark 90 Handicap (1300m) rather than The Hunter over the same distance so that she can use her 3kg city claim,” Lane said.

“She is also booked for Aramayo (Sam Kavanagh), Oakfield Waratah and Street Candi (Kristen Buchanan) and Hide Your Heart (Nathan Doyle) in supporting races.

“Anna finished second on Oakfield Waratah in the Four Pillars Midway (1500m) at Rosehill just over a week ago.”

Roper, sidelined for seven months following an after-race accident at Muswellbrook in late November last year, subsequently transferred to Lane’s stable and has hit the ground running this season.

She has outridden her country claim and her win on Red Cobra was her 25th – the same as Dylan Gibbons – since August 1, with the pair only a half win behind Zac Wadick in the NSW apprentices’ premiership.

Sara Ryan won her seventh race this season when Vegas Outlaw scored in the opener at Wyong, and fellow Wyong trainer Kim Waugh was the sole provincial winner at Rosehill Gardens, landing the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m) with $2.60 favorite Shadows Of Love (Tommy Berry).

Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer capped off a great week with another successful foray north of the border.

Deamer, who scored at Royal Randwick last Tuesday with Hard To Say (three of his six career wins have been in Queensland), won the Class 6 Handicap (1600m) at Doomben with Awesome Lad ($9.50).

*Story John Curtis, November 12, 2023 - Pics Muswellbrook Race Club*

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