The Listed Caloundra Cup was duly taken out, as expected, by the Joe Pride trained Stockman.
The New Zealand bred son of Tavistock dominated the betting to start at the restrictive odds of $1.45, but he had to work a lot harder for victory that those odds indicated might be the case as the $16 chance Cellarmaid tested the favourite all of the way to the line.
Ryan Maloney gave Stockman the run of the race, settling in third spot some two to three lengths off the leader Wu Gok ($8) and he was happy to hold that position until the field prepared to straighten for home, at which stage Maloney cut the corner and pushed Stockman to the front, easily going past Picka Plum who had taken over from Wu Gok when the speed went on.
But Stockman had company.
The Kelly Schweida trained Cellarmaid, who at raced at the rear of the field from the break and who was trailing Stockman by four lengths for much of the running, had similarly made up ground in the sweep to the turn and was now right on the heels of the favourite.
And that’s how it became a race in two.
Cellarmaid was quick to throw in a challenge early in the straight and was looking good doing it, seemingly threatening to go past Stockman at the 200m mark, but Stockman was resolute and he responded in turn to ultimately edge away from the very game Cellarmaid, who never gave up the fight, but who ultimately had to settle for second place.
The Ipswich Cup winner, Happy Go Pluckly, was all heart when running on into third spot. The John Gilmore trained gelding was never in serious contention to complete a Cup’s double, but his honesty again helped enhance his reputation.
This was Stockman’s sixth career win and his second in succession after taking out the Listed McKell Cup at Randwick in his previous start.
It was also Ryan Maloney’s first ride for the Joe Pride stable.