First Stakes Winner for Tickets as Eastender Claims Hobart Cup
Mark Smith - Sunday February 10

Former Widden Stud resident and now China-based stallion Tickets was represented by his first stakes-winner when the local hope Eastender turned back the interstate challenge in Sunday's Group III Hobart Cup (2400m).

Given a ground-saving ride by jockey Craig Newitt who made the winning move when cutting the corner when his opponents went searching for better ground out wide, Eastender defeated the Patrick Payne-trained Lamborghini (Shinko King) by one and a half lengths with the Brendan McShane-trained Appmat (Matsqui) a half-head back in third. (photo Tasracing)

Trained by Barry Campbell and carrying the colours of Denise Martin's Star Thoroughbreds, Eastender advanced his record to 9 wins, 3 seconds and 1 third from 20 starts with earnings of $353,125.

Eastender was under a hard ride by Newitt before the turn and cutting the corner caused his trainer some concern.

"I actually thought, I hope he knows what he's doing," Campbell said.

But Newitt said he had few options and was playing the hand he was dealt.

"I had no choice. I just going to have to cover too much ground because I was too far off them," Newitt said.

"I just had to rely on his stamina to get him through. When he straightened up on level terms, he was going to be hard to beat."

Connections will be cleaning out the cabinets because Eastender will be going on a cups blitz. With the Davenport and Hobart Cups in the bag, the 5yo gelding will contest the Launceston Cup on February 27 and possibly the Adelaide Cup (3200m) on March 11.

A $22,000 purchase by Star Thoroughbred out of the Kingsley Park Thoroughbreds draft at the 2015 Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling Sale, Eastender is the first of three foals out of the unraced Mossman mare Cougar Alley who died in September 2016.

An $8,500 purchase at the 2013 Easter Broodmare Sale, Cougar Alley is a three-quarter sister to Group II MRC Schillaci Stakes winner Segments and STC Reisling Stakes winner and Golden Slipper runner-up Pure Energy.

The final foal of Cougar Alley is an unraced 2yo Wordsmith colt named Our Little Ted who was purchased at last year's Tasmanian Yearling Sale by Dale Stacey for $20,000.