A DISAPPOINTING 21 lengths beating at its previous start was erased with a solid win by Hawkesbury seven-year-old gelding Scottish Border (10-1) in the $20,000 The Australian Hotel Wingham Cup over 1600m at Taree Wingham Race Club's TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse on a dead-rated track before a good crowd.
Stewards inquired into the bad run in the Provincial Stayer's Cup over 2100m on May 3 but a patient ride by Gosford jockey Chris O'Brien gave trainer Garry Frazer his first win at the track at his first visit.
"He is a good horse when he is right - sometimes he lacks confidence," Frazer said.
"I nearly got lost coming here but these country cups are good for him these days."
Frazer hasn't ruled out Scottish Border backing up in the $27,500 Wauchope Cup over 1500m at Port Macquarie Racecourse on Sunday.
Two starts back the gelding was third on the Kensington track but lost admirers after his last run, the trainer stating that his charge lost its chance after pulling hard when wide early.
O'Brien said he modelled the run on that of Hugh Bowman's who was on board Scottish Border when it won the Bathurst Cup on February 23.
It was only the gelding's sixth win in 54 starts but the win took its earnings to nearly $362,000, a long way ahead of any other runner in the race.
Four-year-old Taree gelding Single Spirit, trained by Ross Stitt and ridden by Robert Thompson, fired up well at the start, was in the leading bunch about 600m out but couldn't justify the punter's faith to send the galloper out a 5-2 favourite in finishing fourth, second going to Taree's Al's Gold, and third to Scone gelding Knot Out which eased from 6-4 favourite to 5-1 with bookmakers.
Stitt said of Single Spirit's run: "Probably short of a run (its first since May 4)."
The South Grafton Cup bound gelding may also back up in the Wauchope Cup on Sunday.
The race club's vice chairman, Allan Skinner, in presenting the trophy, paid tribute to the sponsors, especially Wez Zuber from The Australian Hotel, the good crowd and Frazer on the win by just under a length.
O'Brien had a winning double, also scoring on four-year-old mare Flying By (10-1) trained at Gosford by his fiancée Carmen Murnane, also notching her first win at Taree, in The Australian Hotel Class 1 Handicap over 1250m.
"I have only had the mare for three starts and she has improved with every run."
Murnane only has two horses in training and was given the day off by John Singleton,for whom she works for at his racehorse farm, Strawberry Hill.