Portland Jimmy wins Ararat Cup

Former Kiwi-galloper Portland Jimmy (NZ) (Mettre En Jeu) collected his second Australian victory in just four starts when he took out the Ararat Gold Cup (2000m) on Sunday for trainer Patrick Payne.

Payne entrusted apprentice Laura Lafferty with the ride on the seven-year-old Mettre En Jeu gelding and she responded with a picture-perfect effort to guide him to a comfortable one and a half-length victory.

Lafferty had Portland Jimmy idling nicely in the trail throughout before making his run three off the fence in the home straight. The lightly raced galloper strode clear in the concluding stages and was comfortably holding nearest challenger Wentwood (Pour Moi) at the line.

Payne was quick to praise the apprentice for her cool handling of his charge during the contest.

“He got beaten in the St Arnaud Cup (2000m) last time carrying 60kgs so I thought I’d claim on him and bring his weight down to 54kgs today,” Payne said.

“Laura is a real athlete and over the last two-three months she has worked really hard for us so I think she has got a big future.

“We had been hoping he could do that today so now we just have to find the right races for him.

“I think a race like the Traralgon Cup (1900m) later in the month could be ideal for him plus he’s a pretty good jumper so he might be able to win a couple of those at the start of next season.”

Portland Jimmy has now won seven of his 17 career starts with five of those wins coming in New Zealand when trained at Marton by Fraser Auret before making his way to Payne earlier this year.

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