Fouroeight triumphs in Cowra Harness Racing Club's centenary race

Mat Rue hoists the Waugoola Motors Centenary Cup after winning from the Angela Hedges-driven Ned Pepper. Photo: Robin Dale
Mat Rue hoists the Waugoola Motors Centenary Cup after winning from the Angela Hedges-driven Ned Pepper. Photo: Robin Dale

A strong back half of the race has given the Rues another winner, with Fouroeight comfortably winning the Waugoola Motors Centenary Cup by more than 17m from Ned Pepper.

The headline event of a bonus meeting held by the Cowra Harness Racing Club in celebration of 100 years of local pacing, the mid-tempo race was won by way of a methodical and patient approach from driver Mat Rue, who raced away during the final bend to secure a comfortable victory.

The horse netted $5200 for its connections, with the second placed Ned Pepper winning $1800 while Our Wall Street Wolf collected $1200 from the $10,000 prize pool.

However, Modern Maestro set the pace over the first couple of laps, with the horses, despite an early attempt from Hedges and Ned Pepper to bridge the gap via the running lane, largely settling into the a single-file formation, with Amanda Turnbull's Convair Hustler sitting in second.

Rue, on Fouroeight, wasn't drawn into the early jostling, sitting in last spot for much of the first lap and, when Ned Pepper eventually dropped back, in fifth during the second and third laps of the event, which featured six horses.

Nevertheless, during the final bend of that last lap, while the Mitch Turnbull-driven Modern Maestro began to make its move, it was Rue and Fouroeight, closely followed by Hedges and Ned Pepper, who reacted with the required counter-attack up the home straight as the bell rang.

While Turnbull attempted to wring every little bit of energy that he could from the eight year old gelding, the field, dragged along by what would prove to be race winning move from the outside by Fouroeight, began to thin.

First it was Spiros Calligeros' Desdon Murruffy, the 10 year old unable to hack the pace as the horse exited onto the penultimate straight, while Convair Hustler fell into a gallop during the final bend.

With Fouroeight breaking away, it left Ned Pepper and Our Wall Street Wolf to claim second and third respectively as they battled over the race's final metres.

Meanwhile, Modern Maestro, who did well to set the pace for bulk of the race, especially against horses from credentialed trainers like Gemma Rue (Fouroeight) and Katie Jenner (Ned Pepper), fell away, finishing fourth.

Speaking after the race, Mat Rue, who also drove the Matthew McCaffery trained Weona Blaster to victory in the Ladies' Auxiliary Pace, said he was pleased with the horse's performance.

"He was sensational," Rue said, who acknowledged the 2970m event required a tactical approach.

"His biggest attribute's his speed... you've just got to hold him together until that last 400.

"He's a couple of gears below a top line horse but he ain't too far away from it. In these country cups he's as good as any there."

Rue, who did several early career trials in Cowra, also said it was a "privilege" to take out the headline event of the meet.

"A lot of people in the Cowra region have had a lot to do with my career along the way," he said.

"So thanks to each and every one of them today, [and] everyone who made this day possible."