Hometown hero Lokum claims Bowen Cup triumph
THE hopes of local punters rested on the capable back of hometown horse Lokum, who didn't disappoint, soaring to claim a masterful win in the $10,000 Industry Fire Services Bowen Cup on Saturday.
The seven-year-old gelding had trailed for almost two-thirds of the 1810m feature, but crept up along the outside under jockey Peter Cullen before gaining momentum and producing an effortless finish down the home stretch.
Softened ground from a brief downpour didn't deter the $2 favourite who scored an impressive two-length triumph over Slade Amigos, with Sirius Witness a further half-length away in third.
Bowen trainer Andrew Cameron said Lokum was "a smartarse of a horse" who liked to sit back, then run over the top of his opponents.
"I think it's a game to him. He just waits and then he goes," Mr Cameron said.
"The only thing I was worried about was he's never really carried that sort of weight. But when they swung for home, I saw Pete hadn't even moved."
Cameron was thrilled the galloper was able to improve on his third-place finish from 12 months earlier and seal his 100th winner while based at Bowen.
"It's always good to get a win here. There's a lot of pressure when you're racing here too because you do want to perform," he said.
Cameron credited his partner, Lisa Smith, who shared the training duties and put in an immense amount of effort all year round.
But hard work paid off for Lokum who returned to form and "back to the horse he was" following a freak knee injury which warranted a grim choice - put him down or rest him for six months.
The Bowen Cup victory marks the eighth career win for Lokum who, Cameron said, will have a deserved break for the next couple of months.
Lokum completed a winning double on the day for Cameron after Hostile Lily landed a breakthrough win in the Abbot Point Operations QTIS Maiden Plate (1280m).
Cameron said the win didn't come as a surprise considering the frolicsome filly had entered the race off the back of a win in Townsville recently.
Lokum made it four winners on the day for evergreen hoop Cullen.
Cullen has been in sparkling form since landing that elusive first Cleveland Bay win in July.
He was aboard Hostile Lily ($1.80fav) for Cameron, while he tasted success aboard the fancied Under The Weather and Ragnar Lodbrok.
Under The Weather ($2.40fav) beat out It And A Bit by three quarters of a length in the XXXX Lion Nathan and Queens Beach Hotel Bowen Battlers Cup (1470m).
Mackay gelding Ragnar Lodbrok ($2.30fav) kickstarted the day's proceedings by staving off Raining Dollars by a length in the Arabon Seafoods and Grand View Hotel Benchmark Handicap (1000m).
Bonnie Thomson was the only other jockey to land a winner on the program after she guided Townsville mare Our Recipe ($2.40fav) to a dominant victory in the Browns Milk Supply and Browns BP Merinda Handicap (1280m).