A couple of self-confessed battlers from the NSW Central Coast have taken on some heavy hitters at Rosehill and come out on top.
Mighty Lucky ($21) has given veteran trainer Fred Cowell victory in Saturday’s Listed Festival Stakes with Nathan Thomas getting him over the line a long head in front of Godolphin’s It’s Somewhat ($5.50).
The Festival is the traditional lead-up to the Group Two Villiers Stakes and Cowell sees no reason why Mighty Lucky shouldn’t take his place at Randwick in two weeks.
“He’s not a Group One horse but the Villiers won’t be a lot stronger than that,” Cowell said.
“He’s a lovely horse. He’s by Casino Prince and they are all lovely horses.
“I have about six horses in work all the time and he’s the best city horse at the moment.
“But I’ve also got Bettabet Red who won the Muswellbrook Cup recently and she’s pretty good.”
Cowell, who won the 1992 Festival Stakes with Top Comedian when it was a 1300m race, already had a points decision over Godolphin from Mighty Lucky’s win in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes at Scone in May last year.
On that occasion, Thomas survived a protest from James McDonald who was aboard It’s Somewhat on Saturday.
Cowell said it did not occur to him to put anyone but Thomas on Mighty Lucky.
“Why would I take him off?” he said.
“Nathan rides him well. He’s ridden him in most of his races and gets on with him.
“He moved down here from the Sunshine Coast with his wife and family and does a great job.”
Mighty Lucky spent some time with Thomas’s father-in-law Paddy Cunningham at Grafton as a young horse before going shin sore and returning to Gosford.
In a close finish to the Festival, Peace Force ($9.50) was a short half-head behind It’s Somewhat with Zanbagh ($16) a close fourth.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Frespanol ($3.80) finished seventh and never looked like the winner.