Cole Porter (3) and Gerard O'Reilly hold out Unico Legend (8) and Ricky May to win the Nelson Winter Cup. Photo: Race Images
Even Geoff Dunn had to admit to being a little surprised at what Cole Porter achieved over the weekend.
It’s not so much that Dunn didn’t think he had a horse capable of winning on both days of the Nelson winter meeting, but he knew just how hard it was going to be for such a young, relatively inexperienced, horse.
So, the West Melton trainer found himself quite impressed when Cole Porter not only won the Winter Cup prelude on Friday, but then backed it up over 3000 metres on Sunday and claimed the Cup as well.
“He’s only a young horse, taking on some real experienced older ones,” Dunn said.
“And to be honest I was probably a bit concerned about him backing up, but he handled that like a little professional and actually did it quite easily.”
While backing up was a real concern on Sunday, handling the standing start and the entire experience of a big trip away was the real concern on Friday, but the speedy little pacer handled it all with aplomb.
Not only did he step cleanly, but he stepped quickly - a real asset considering the sort of races that might lay ahead for the three-year-old.
“He actually handled the standing starts really well, like he pinged away.”
Gerard O’Reilly handled the driving duties on both days and produced near-perfect drives on each occasion to get the diminutive little pacer home ahead of his rivals.
“Gerard said he did it really well today, which was again a bit of a surprise, but being able to get that wee bit of cover over the longer distance helped his chances too.”
A Bettor’s Delight gelding from former top pacing mare, De Lovely - Cole Porter lacks for nothing in the breeding department and looks set to have a good future in front of him, but where that might be remains up in the air.
“It’s tough to place him now, we have always thought he’ll be a nice Cups type horse next season and it looks that way - but we will have to get him home and take things from there.”
Earlier in the day, Matt Anderson continued his charge towards a national junior drivers’ premiership with two wins for employer Robert Dunn – Kensington Kate and Johnny White.