Awesum Teddy and Pemberton Shard, the principals in yesterday's ILT Foundation Summer Cup at Ascot Park, will renew their keen rivalry in the Wyndham Cup on Saturday.
The winner of 10 of his 24 starts for trainer Murray Brown, Awesum Teddy impressively sustained front running tactics to stall of Pemberton Shard's gritty challenge by half a neck, the closing 800 in 56.2 and 400 in 27.4.
The winner of $73,000 in stakes, Awesum Teddy is raced by Marty and Daphne Fairbairn of Winton.
Trainer Brown and Marty Fairbairn played rugby together for the Central Pirates club.
Brown trained Awesum Teddy's dam Bonnie Deal (by Make A Deal) to win two races, including a heat of the Southland Oaks.
Bonnie Deal's first five foals to race have all been winners. Her star son Awesum Teddy will be aimed at the Country Cups Final at Ascot Park on March 30.
Successful driver Andrew Armour thought Pemberton Shard was going to cut back Awesum Teddy who dug deepest to prevail.
Trainer Brown said Awesum Teddy was a ''good and competitive front runner who wants to be there''.
Stablemate Odette Jaccka, away from racing for 10 months and raced by long standing clients Ailsa and Charlie Smaill, credited his Northern Southland owners with their sixth success this season. Other contributors for the respected industry identities have been Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup winner Jaccka Justy (two), Jocy Jaccka and Come on Jaccka.
''I have had two horses a season from the Smaills for many years and have acquired syndicate horses from them also,'' Brown said.
''The best I have trained for them was Jaccka Tana, who won three in a row and was sold to Perth.''
Greg and Nina Hope's talented mare Helena Jet was enterprisingly reined by junior Robbie Close to win the Southern Belle Speed Series Heat (1700 metres).
Close fired her out of her wide draw to surge three wide early and lead over the last 1100 metres to score in 2:02.28 (1:55.78 mile rate) which compared favourably with Hannah's 2:01.7 track record of three years ago.
Brent Shirley is now seriously contemplating the Southland Oaks with his tough staying filly I Smart who posted her third win in 11 starts in the Speights Ale House Pace.
''A good tough run and she was full of running at the finish,'' driver Nathan Williamson enthused.
I Smart will next race at Winton on Tuesday week over a mobile mile to take a fast breeding record before The Southland Oaks, after which she will be turned out.
Holm Three was another smart 3-year-old filly to score in the Waxy O'Shea Pace for trainer Hamish Hunter.
She is the first foal from Holmezy, winner of five races for Hunter, also runner-up in the Southland Oaks and sixth in G T Aveross's success in the first ever Jewels race for 4-year-old mares at the inaugural Ashburton carnival in 2007.
Tony Stratford gained his ninth success of the season with the Dexter Dunn-reined Ultra Shock in the Elmwood Pace.
Stratford and Dunn both claimed the 5-year-old had strengthened appreciably, growing into his big and raw frame. Ultra Shock could hardly have been more impressive than when backing up from his last start win at Wyndham.
''He was very ordinary at two and three, but won a couple at four and is capable of more,'' Stratford said.
''There's no reason why he couldn't develop into a Country Cups horse next season.''
- The Southland Times