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Tim Clark guides Gai Waterhouse's Hippopus to Canberra Cup win

Top Sydney jockey Tim Clark "cut his teeth" riding in and around Canberra, which made winning his first $200,000 Canberra Cup (2000 metres) at Thoroughbred Park a "great thrill".

Especially since his parents now live in the ACT and he was planning on celebrating with a "couple of beers" with his dad on Sunday.

His Cup win on the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hippopus capped a big day for Clark, who also won the listed National Sprint (1000m) on David Vandyke's Cosmic Cube and finished second in the listed Canberra Guineas (1400m) and the Camarena Handicap (1000m).

Born in Young, the 29-year-old started out as an apprentice at Leeton, which brought him to the Canberra area for rides.

"Obviously it's a great thrill, I cut my teeth down here in this area as an apprentice and it's always nice to get back to these areas where you come through as a junior rider and an apprentice, and it's nice to get back to these areas and win a couple of the major races," Clark said.

"[My parents are] not here today, but I'll have a couple of beers with the old man tonight to celebrate."


Waterhouse did not come to Canberra, but she was "screaming down the phone" about Hippopus' gutsy win.

The High Chaparral gelding led almost from start to finish and was too strong down the home straight, holding off the second-placed Off The Rails, with Centre Pivot third.

Representing Waterhouse, former jockey Neil Paine was unsure where Hippopus would run next, but he thought he would be targeted at The Championships in Sydney.

He said Waterhouse had targeted the Canberra Cup from six weeks out.

"She's over the moon. Gai gets excited winning any race, let alone the Canberra Cup. She's screaming down the phone she's so happy," Paine said.

"[It was an] impressive win. They were the instructions to lead, Gai wanted him to lead because he's a fit horse, so Gai wanted him to bowl along in front and Gai always says: 'Catch me if you can'.

"Gai will have a race picked out over the Sydney carnival, The Championships, I would say. I leave that up to Gai. He'll be racing at The Championships in Sydney.

"Hippopus is a good honest horse, he's probably just a bit below the group 1 horses. He's on the rung below, he's not up there with the top level horses. He's a dead set trier the horse."

It wasn't the fairytale finish the Joe Cleary-trained Landlocked was hoping for, with the nine-year-old finishing seventh in his last race, but Cleary was happy the listed Wagga Wagga Gold Cup winner came through unscathed.