Queanbeyan Cup winning jockey Peter Wells with the spoils of victory. Photo: Melissa Adams MLA
It was meant to be QRacing's big day but neither the trainer nor owner of the $35,000 Queanbeyan Cup winner bothered to turn up to accept the trophy, leaving the Queanbeyan Race Club with ''egg on its face''.
QRacing chief executive Brendan Comyn was forced to hand over the prized silverware to the truck driver that brought winner Peal Of Bells to the track.
He described it as ''like kissing your sister''.
It was a disappointing end to an emphatic victory by the Gwenda Markwell-trained Peal Of Bells. In his fourth win on the trot he took out the 2000-metre staying feature in emphatic fashion, finishing four lengths ahead of locally-trained Kariz.
Markwell trains out of Kembla Grange, in Wollongong.
''Country tracks and city trainers, they probably don't go hand in hand,'' Comyn said. ''If the second horse had've won all the owners were here, the trainer was here, it's a local horse, it would've been a big celebration and you ended up talking to the jockey because he was the only one associated with the horse.''
Such was the dominance of the $3.70 favourite, jockey Peter Wells felt he was going to win with 800m to go. Gai Waterhouse's Tea For Two led from the first turn and held a narrow lead from Zippy Zariz coming round the final bend, but Peal Of Bells produced a strong run down the outside and always looked like running over the top.
The Clangalang four-year-old hit the lead with about 200m to go and eased away for a strong win, with Kariz also running on strongly for second, a short half-head in front of Tea For Two, who held on bravely for third.
''From the half mile I knew that we'd be very, very hard to beat because as soon as I produced him behind those runners he found another gear and I know how many gears he's got. I was very happy with him,'' Wells said.
Wells has ridden the gelding to its last three wins and thinks he could emerge as one of Australia's better stayers.
Markwell has nominated Peal Of Bells for next weekend's $500,000 group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) but he could struggle to make the cut for a race that will include the likes of Melbourne Cup winner Americain and Manighar, which has enjoyed a sensational autumn since switching to Peter Moody's stable.
Manighar has won two group 1s this preparation - the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and the Australian Cup (2000m) - and will go for his third straight win in the Sydney Cup, but Wells thinks Peal Of Bells could mix it with that company.
''A big race in the Sydney Cup or something like that with a lot of ground where he's gonna have no weight, 52kg or something, he's a slight chance in one of those,'' he said.