Bay shows his class

Justin Fris and Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Henwood Bay wins the Wagin Cup by a nose.
Camera IconHenwood Bay wins the Wagin Cup by a nose. Credit: Daryl Hallows

Errol Ashcroft’s plucky four-year-old Henwood Bay recorded two cup wins in as many weeks, with a superb drive from Deni Roberts guiding him to glory in the Wagin Panel and Paint Cup Pace (2100m) at Donaldson Park on Friday night.

After a brilliant season at Churchill Park, which included two victories and second to Captain Proud in the Busselton Cup, Ashcroft’s gelding added another major country cup to his collection on March 15 in Bridgetown with Roberts piloting the win.

This effort was followed up by a narrow second to Artillery Major at Gloucester Park four days later, where he rated 1.57.4 and showed plenty of dash.

Roberts returned to the spider on Friday night for Ashcroft and she delivered one of the best drives seen this season.

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Perched on the back of race leader Carramar Arapaho at the bell, Roberts resisted the temptation to over exert Henwood Bay and ensured he snuck home in a photo finish.

Henwood Bay trainer Errol Ashcroft said he was “very happy” with how the two-time Busselton horse of the year was travelling

“He’s always been a very nice horse but he just matured a bit and got a bit stronger as time has gone along,” he said.

“Hayden Hancock did a really good job at Busselton Cup but I had to give Deni another go because she started riding him and she did a tremendous job.

“ Henwood Bay was always going to be a threat coming home, the longer the race the better he goes.”

Ashcroft said his attention was now on race four on Thursday night at Bunbury Trotting Club where Henwood Bay would be gunning for a third straight win.

“I think he’s a big chance again. I tend to look after them as young horses so as they mature I make sure they don’t get burnt out and they can race until they are nine or ten,” he said.

”We are just starting to reap the rewards so I think he’ll be even better next year. We’re still on the way up.”

If Henwood Bay continues his rich vein of form he will begin racing in Perth shortly and Ashcroft said he would “hold his own in the city.”

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