A frustrating run of outs ended for trainer Grahame Begg on Wednesday when Wine `N’ Dine gave him his first metropolitan win for the season.
One of Randwick’s most respected horsemen, Begg has endured what he freely describes as his toughest season to date.
“It’s the worst run I’ve had since I’ve been training,” Begg said.
“But you’ve got to have broad shoulders in this game.”
Wine `N’ Dine’s campaign has almost been a reflection of the Begg stable’s run which has been peppered with near-misses.
After a first-up win on the provincial circuit in December, Wine `N’ Dine filled the minor placings in five or his next six starts on city tracks.
His consistency finally received its just result in Wednesday’s TAB Quaddie Handicap but even that didn’t come without a struggle.
The four-year-old appeared set to sail past Black Jag and run out a convincing winner but the second horse kicked back strongly, forcing Begg to endure a photo finish before Wine `N’ Dine was declared the winner by a short head.
“I’d love to have more horses that try as much as him,” Begg said.
Begg has historically had around 35 horses in work but he said the changing face of training has resulted in his team being reduced to 20.
He had three runners at the Kensington track meeting and while Serene Express didn’t feature, Begg notched another minor placing with Savanero.
Joe Pride was in the winners’ circle on Wednesday with Cushy Number who has proven difficult to train.
The horse was sent back to the barrier trials after he was beaten as favourite at Kembla Grange last month but was on his best behaviour for Tommy Berry on Wednesday.
“He’s a very smart horse but he’s got a lot to learn,” Berry said.
“He was in the right frame of mind today and that’s what he can do when he’s on song.”
Cushy Number defied a betting drift from $4.60 to $5.50 and scored by 3-1/2 lengths over Caldane.
A horse Pride initially harboured Australian Derby hopes for, Cushy Number is likely to have one more start before a spell.