It had been a long time between drinks for Tumbarumba trainer, Mont Waters, when he went to Dederang picnics on Saturday with galloper, Miracle Knight.
Waters’ last win was on December 7, 2019 when Bay Lane boulted in at Albury, but after the Dunns Road bushfires and a large clean up, Waters temporarily had his runners with his brother, Rodger Waters, before recently easing back into the sport.
The Tumbarumba trainer was rewarded for his patience too, with Miracle Knight proving a little too good in the 1000m Trophy Handicap, edging the $1.28 favourite, Lucky Dozen by 0.2 of a length, while Miss Redcoat finished third.
“Yes, it was my first winner since the fires, which was nice,” Waters said.
Waters praised the ride of Belinda Wright, hinting the amateur hoop made all the difference in the result, while she also booted home Cryfowl to victory in the Dederang Cup for local owners and Wagga trainer, Scott Spackman.
“Bel rode really well. She was probably the difference for both the horses really,” Waters said.
The stable was reasonably confident when heading across the border, with the Knight Exemplar gelding having recently raced without luck in tougher events at Goulburn and Towong.
“I was confident when we went to Goulburn a couple of weeks ago, but I probably gave the jockey the wrong instructions,” Waters said.
“I was happy with his run at Towong; he was just outclassed and (Dederang), it is probably his level. You need to place them where they are most suited.”
While Waters had the choice to take on NSW picnic events, he said the closer proximity to Dederang and the right race forced him down south.
“You are limited by your distances; you have Tullibigeal but Dederang is a lot closer than Tullibigeal,” Waters said.
“We were going to Bedgerabong before it got too wet and it’s only three hours to Dederang and I was pretty confident I would get Bel to ride.”
Miracle Knight will likely back up at Ardlethan Picnics this Saturday, but Waters may not have the services of the in-form Wright.
“I will put him in at Ardlethan this week. He may go in the Class Three, he is really just a 1000m horse,” Waters said.
“We don’t know about Bel either; she is tossing up to go to Ardlethan or going to Mooney Valley.”
It was a big day for local owners, Mal and Lachlan Vogan, who own shares in Miracle Knight and Cryfowl – the latter celebrating his first win in 17 months when taking out the Dederang Cup.
Cryfowl was coming off a fourth at Towong, and Waters said there was stable confidence.
“Spacky is very confident most of the time, and he was very confident at Towong the week before,” Waters said.
“I thought the horse should have won at Towong when he found the lead but he didn’t go on with it.
“He was turned out immaculately at Dederang, so we had a bit of confidence and it was really good to see him win.”
Cryfowl will also be on the quick back up, when turning out in the Ardlethan Picnic Cup.
In action a little closer to home, Tumbarumba trainer Graham Byatt could head to Albury on Thursday, with Wicked Redoute’s nominated for the 1400m Maiden Handicap.
The three-year-old is coming off an eighth over the 1200m at Wagga and looks a likely improving third up this preparation.