Pelerin and After All That have secured the final two spots in the $400,000 Country Championship final by running the quinella in the Wild Card at Scone.
Sunday’s meeting was the last chance to qualify for the race at Randwick six days later and was held at Scone when the wet NSW weather claimed its original venue, Muswellbrook.
For Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan, getting Pelerin to Randwick has been a test of patience and skill.
The $12 chance was ridden by Grant Buckley whose original mount Valbeata failed to gain a start as the first emergency.
Buckley brought Pelerin down the outside rail to beat the Rod Northam-trained After All That by a neck.
“We’ve just had to be patient with him,” Morgan told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He did his deep flexor tendon and Dad bought him off Darley.
“They said to give him 12 months off and we did.”
Morgan said his initial fears the outside barrier would be a problem worked in their favour on the soft track.
Robert Thompson, who rode the runner-up, said he probably hit the front earlier than planned.
“They raced tight and I probably had to get on my bike earlier than I wanted to,” he said.
“I’m happy with that.”
The Matt Dunn-trained Perfect Dare, winner of the first regional heat at Grafton, remains the $3.80 favourite for Saturday’s final ahead of the Danny Williams-trained Pumpkin Pie ($4.60) who won at Goulburn.No tags for this post.