Phantom Bonnie Brilliant In Casino Cup Decider

AN elated Mal Ross admits the cool $25,000 first prizemoney for winning the Group 3 Casino Cup on Friday afternoon is inconsequential.

David Brasch

28 November 2020

MAL Ross admits the prizemoney for winning the Casino Cup is inconsequential.

“The fact it is a Group 3 race and our first Group win is everything,” said Mal after Phantom Bonnie (Fernando Bale-Clover Cottage) had led throughout to win the 484m final by almost four lengths over Hello Mavis with two lengths to Katana in third.

Phantom Bonnie, which went into the Cup series the secondary chance from Mal’s kennel behind litter brother Phantom Clyde, ran 27.26.

And, in doing so, she proved Mal Ross’ training to be spot on.

“The run in the heat the week before left her a bit jaded,” said Mal.

“It was her first 484m run and naturally it took a bit out of her.

“So, I made the decision to do nothing with her at all between heat and final.”

Even the bitch’s owner, long-time but now retired trainer John Free wanted to turn up at the local straight track to help Mal put Phantom Bonnie through her paces.

“I told John not to bother,” said Mal. “I was going to keep her on the lead. I reasoned she had to jump to win and letting her freshen up was the plan.”

It worked.

While the Group 3 victory was highest in Mal’s rating of the race, the $25,000 winner’s cheque for owner John Free was the bonus.

“Johnny was absolutely wrapped,” said Mal. “He been in the Cup final a few times when he was training, but this is his first win.”

Mal Ross said he never stopped receiving phone calls and congratulatory texts after the victory.

But the sweetest of all was from Sue Schafer, the widow of former great Northern Rivers dog man Darryl Schafer who died a few years ago and left the Cup winner’s mother Clover Cottage to Mal.

“It was wonderful that Sue rang and we have organised a get together before Christmas,” said Mal.