Golden day for emerging Weir runner

Dean Yendall returns to scale on Kiwia ($3.20 favourite) after winning the Gold Nugget Handicap, 1600m, in Ballarat. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

Dean Yendall returns to scale on Kiwia ($3.20 favourite) after winning the Gold Nugget Handicap, 1600m, in Ballarat. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

The Bendigo Cup is a possible target for Kiwia after saluting in the $50,000 Gold Nugget Handicap, 1600m in Ballarat on Sunday.

Trained by Darren Weir in Ballarat, Kiwia ($3.20 favourite) staved off a late challenge from Riyadh ($6) to bring up sixth win in just nine career starts.

Freshwater Storm ($13) ran a bold race to finish third in his attempt to win the feature event for a third successive year.

Kiwia is raced by Limerick Lane, which is operated by Gerry Ryan of Jayco fame.

Jayco has been a long-time sponsor of the $300,000, making it a race Ryan likes to win.

He did just that with another Weir galloper Puissance de Lune in 2012.

Kiwia won on debut at the Warrnambool May Carnival this year and has continued to improve through the winter and now into the spring.

Dan O'Sullivan was another hometown trainer to salute on Gold Nugget Day.

Arties Dreamwinner ($3.80) took out the Sportsbets Power Play Handicap, 1400m.

The 4yo mare mare has now won two of six starts.

MEANWHILE, Darren Weir is preparing to raise the bar again for up-and-coming filly Leather'n'lace after the three-year-old made it three straight wins this preparation.

After a maiden victory at Warrnambool and another provincial win at Bendigo in her first two starts this campaign, Leather'n'lace added a first city victory in Saturday's Aquis Farm Supports Pinchapoo Plate, 1400m, at Caulfield.

Leather'n'lace ($4.40) dominated the fillies' race from the front under jockey Damian Lane, rolling along before kicking away early in the straight to score by more than two lengths over Uptown Gal ($101).

Victoria's premier trainer has pencilled in the group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes, 1600m, at Flemington as the filly's next start on October 7.

"That's the logical step. She needs to chase a bit of black type now.

"She's got a beautiful pedigree.

“If she can get a bit of black type she'll be a great broodmare for her owners. 

“She's made the right steps and continues to train on well.”