An astute front-running ride by jockey Serg Lisnyy landed a half-head win on Wyong gelding Mo The Great ($3.30) in the $32,000 Bakewell Haulage Krambach Cup (1600m) before a big Friday crowd at Taree.
Another stride and Taree gelding Casino Mondial ($3.50), trained by Michael Byers, was in front in a thrilling finish which needed a camera to separate the two.
"He had to be tough to win," Lisnyy said of his six-year-old gelding which was having its fourth run back from a spell after going close to winning on many occasions over 1600m last preparation.
Stable foreman Terry Bellew said the right decision was made in scratching Mo The Great from a race at Wyong next week.
"He had a good pull in the weights and even though he was attacked all the way everything worked out well,"he said.
Byers said he was happy with the Casino Mondial's run as his gelding was on trial at the distance and was up in class.
"He just needs to focus a bit better."
Last year's cup winner, eight-year-old gelding Fastquest ($18), trained at Kempsey by Vince Jones, was a neck away in third,just in front of Port Macquarie's O'Driscoll ($8), trained by Tas Morton.
Disappointment was Taree gelding Editors ($5), trained by Ross Stitt, which vied for the lead early and then was beaten about 15 lengths.
The good-feel win of the day was four-year-old gelding Chamisal ($2.80), trained at Port by John Sprague, which gave head owner Jan Tate, of Laurieton, a early 86th birthday present for Monday.
Four generations of her family own part of the galloper and they were trackside to celebrate the occasion.
"It is a big thrill but I didn't expect it as he is better over 1400m," she said after the quarter of a length win in the Banarra Brahmans Class 2 Plate for Country Only gallopers over 1250m.
Jockey Aaron Bullock, notching his 58th win so far for the season, said Chamisal, scratched from Newcastle the next day, "worked home well."
Newcomer to the Port stable of Neil Godbolt, five-year-old mare Our Girl Babs ($7.50), made it two wins in a row in six days in only three starts since coming north in the Krambach Hotel Class 3 Handicap over 1600m.
The mare, again ridden by Brooke Stower, scored easily at Port in the heavy and then handled the good conditions at Taree with a length romp for owners Godbolt and his wife, Maxine.
Riding honours went to Port jockey Luke Rolls who scored on $51 chance Varsity for Newcastle trainer Paul Perry in the Clui Creative Maiden Handicap over 1400m and had another win for the trainer on Sausalito ($4.80) in the Alan Bakewell Memorial Krambach Sprint.
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