Long-time conditioner Natalie Jarvis - who runs a small stable at Moruya - secured her first Bong Bong Picnic Cup success after California August scored a last stride win in the time-honoured event at Bowral on Friday.
The showery conditions did not deter a few thousand people from attending the club's first meeting since 2019, many gathering for numerous festive parties, while cheering California August home.
California August was ridden by regular Moruya-based hoop Maddison Wright, who pleaded with the gelding's trainer to keep the galloper in work after the pair won the Harden Picnic Cup in late October.
"I said (to the trainer) to keep the horse in work for this cup, and I will ride him every day," Wright said through teary eyes, while hugging the horse's neck.
"I love this horse."
Emotions ran high after the win with trainer, husband and strapper Luke Jarvis, and loyal stable supporter and Moruya owner Melissa Ick all celebrating the win.
Originally a $500,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale graduate, California August was a $40,000 online purchase for his happy owners and has now won seven races and more than $146,000.
A seven-year-old by Fastnet Rock, California August flew down the straight to snatch victory from the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott-trained favourite Ritzytwenties (by Dundeel) ridden by champion approved hoop Leandro Ribeiro.
Focus was heavily upon 62-year-old Tony "Tubba" Williams from Scone, who made a comeback to amateur race-riding after shedding almost 40 kilograms over the previous 10 months to participant as a jockey at Bong Bong.
Well-respected and liked within the breeding industry, Tubba is a major cog with operations at the high-profile Newgate Farm at Aberdeen.
While his three riding assignments reached only a third placing, he had heavy support via a large contingent from the Upper Hunter Valley attending Bong Bong, which, after 40 years, was Tubba's first official race meeting where he has ridden.
After the races, Tubba said that he will continue to ride but "selectively".
Cowra-born hoop Wayne Wheatley - a Sydney-based hoop who regularly rides trackwork at Warwick Farm - rode a successful double, taking the first two races on the program.
Wheatley partnered with Feng to win the 1000-metre maiden handicap for Kembla Grange conditioner Brett Lazzarini, then followed up by riding Media Chick for Goulburn trainer Sarah Murray-Leslie in the class one handicap.
Strasbourg off the mark
Another sire son of champion Australian stallion I Am Invincible, Strasbourg, has been represented with his first crop juvenile winner when his gelded two-year-old son Stormbourg won over 1000 metres on debut at Ballarat recently.
I Am Invincible stands at Yarraman Park, Scone, which also bred Strasbourg (a $750,000 graduate of Inglis' Australian Easter Yearling Sale), which now stands at Rosemont Stud at Gnarwarre in Victoria,
Only starting 12 times, Strasbourg won two races, including the BRC Sires' Produce Stakes-G2 in Brisbane, as well as the NJC Max Lees Classic as a two-year-old.
Named in honour of Newcastle's legendary conditioner Max Lees (father of champion trainer Kris Lees), the recent Max Lees Classic was won by Rubick filly Erno's Cube, which defeated Efharisto, a filly belonging to the first Australian crop by Shamardal horse Blue Point.
It was announced recently, that German bred, Protectionist - winner of the 2014 Melbourne Cup - had died.
Aged 13, the year of his Melbourne Cup win, Protectionist defeated the memorable Red Cadeaux and Who Shot Thebarman.
Trained by Andreas Wohler in his home country, Protectionist had a staying group two win in Germany, then a close-up fourth in the Caulfield Cup, prior to his Melbourne Cup victory.
The son of well-known Melbourne Cup breeding staying influencer Monsun, Protectionist returned home to win a further three races, including a group one in Germany.
Retiring to stud in Gestut Rttgen in 2017, Protectionist sired more than 40 winners, which included five stakes winners and importantly, his champion German racing daughter, Amazing Grace.