Woohoo! Tasmanian mare rises to new heights in The Hotham

HOME: Brian Higgins rides Woohoo to victory in The Hotham in Ballarat. Picture: Lachlanm Bence
HOME: Brian Higgins rides Woohoo to victory in The Hotham in Ballarat. Picture: Lachlanm Bence

Tasmanian mare Woohoo emerged from racing oblivion in Ballarat on Thursday.

Woohoo ($7.50) took her career to new heights by taking out the inaugural running of the $50,000 maiden, Sportsbet’s The Hotham, 1200m.

BIG DAY: co-trainer Trent Wells celebrates with Woohoo after her maiden-breaking performance. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

BIG DAY: co-trainer Trent Wells celebrates with Woohoo after her maiden-breaking performance. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

The five-year-old had had to settle for three seconds and two thirds in 19 previous lifetime starts.

This time though it was Woohoo’s moment to shine.

Jockey Brian Higgins gave her the run of the race after she jumped strongly, settling fourth with a trail in the running line.

She moved up to leader Bellwhist ($5.50) midway down the home straight and went on to score by more than a length from a charging Briconi ($5.50). Bellwhist finished third.

While Swan Hill gelding Sathern was 11 lengths back in last position, he earned his connections a trip for two to the Gold Coast for finishing at the tail.

The BTC combined with betting agency Sportsbet to frame and promote The Hotham – a race designed for “The Aussie Battler” and named as a spin-off of the $10 million The Everest being run in Sydney on Saturday.

The Hotham attracted more than 150 entries, with Sportsbet informing BTC chief executive officer Lachlan McKenzie immediately after the race that it was keen to make it an annual event.

Trent Wells, who trains Woohoo with his father Leon and brother Dean at Spreyton on the outskirts of Devonport, commended the BTC and Sportsbet on the innovation.

He said he was rapt that the punt to make the trip specifically to Victoria for The Hotham had paid off.

Joining in the light-hearted manner in which the race was promoted, Well said while the $27,500 first prizemoney would cover the cost of the trip, he was not so sure there would be anything left after the celebration.

Wells, who spent a decade based in Victoria as a jumps jockey up to a few years ago, said Woohoo’s win was timely given she had some new part-owners who were also first-time winners.

HOW THEY FINISHED

1-Woohoo $7.50 

2-Briconi $5.50

3-Bellwhist $4.80 

Then followed: Lechter, Bashirah, Sergeant Sam, Positive, Beau Dazzle, Costano Mille, Brother Adam, The Black Isle, Sathern 

DARREN Weir completed a home track double.

He scored with the New Zealand-bred Red Choux's ($2.80) in the Mortimer Petroleum Maiden, 1400m, and He's A Moral ($2.60) in the Hygain Winner Choice Benchmark64, 1200m.

Red Choux’s was also the first leg of a double for jockey Brad Rawiller.

He later combined with the Robbie Griffiths-trained Divine Quality ($2.50) in the Porter Plant Benchmark70  for mares and fillies, 1200m.