Avenel pacer Im The Boss has provided Swedish reinswoman Kima Frenning with her biggest win in Australia by taking Sunday’s Group 3 $30000 Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup.
Just when the favourite Major Secret was being hailed the winner halfway down the straight, the David Aiken-trained Im The Boss rallied to snatch victory by a head in the last couple of strides in a thrilling climax to the 2678m marathon.
Hickstead filled the minor placings while another of the local hopes, the Steve O’Donoghue-trained and Bec Bartley-driven mare Shakahari, ran an honest race to finish fourth.
The first four placegetters raced on the pegs throughout the trip with only the leader and runner-up changing positions at the finishing line.
Second favourite Milly Perez put some life into the race when she moved to the death seat mid-race, but she was gone with 400m to run and finished second last.
Major Secret driver Mark Pitt put the handlebars down at the start from outside the second row to take up the front running and leave punters, who had supported the Emma Stewart-trained Art Major seven-year-old into a $1.90 favourite, on good terms with themselves before Im The Boss spoilt the party at the death knock.
Frenning, who has been driving regularly with consistent success since March last year, was confident Im The Boss could run down Major Secret, even though he had opened up what seemed a winning break around the home turn.
‘‘He never stops trying and he is a very tough horse,’’ said Frenning, who described the win as ‘‘up there’’ with her most memorable moments in the sulky.
Im The Boss deserved his win, breaking a run of four consecutive seconds in the process to have his biggest pay day, collecting $17000 for connections with the 15th win of his 73-start career.
Frenning has driven Im The Boss in 12 of its past 13 starts since David Aiken took over the training of the six-year-old Art Major gelding and has now won four races on the pacer.
But a Shepparton Cup appearance this Saturday night is not on his agenda as he has gone to the water walker for a week to freshen before plans for his next assignment are made.
●The other feature on the card, the $20000 Group 3 Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup, was claimed by the NSW-trained outsider and front marker Quillabamba.
Cawdor-based Quillabamba trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick made a move from just off the pace to the front on the six-year-old son of Yankee Paco with 1600m to run, which proved a winning tactic.
Once in front Fitzpatrick was able to dictate terms on Quillabamba for the rest of the testing 2678m, holding off two locals, the favourite and 20m backmarker Sky Petite and the well-fancied Fabrication, who were both brave in defeat.
Lightly raced Quillabamba, who paid $12.20 for the win, was having only his 29th start. He had won races in Victoria previously as a three-year-old when prepared by Jarrod Alchin.
Three of the more fancied runners in the race — Clover Mac, Ourtwentyten and Kyvalley, who was the early leader — all made errors to ruin their chances.