IT was as if Bede Murray was looking over the 2016 edition of the annual Mollymook Cup at the Shoalhaven City Turf Club on Sunday.
In the first ever Bede Murray Memorial Race Day, following his passing earlier this year, son Paul Murray and Murray Racing claimed an extraordinary trifecta in this year’s Mollymook Cup.
Chief In Command, who won the Cup for Bede in 2015, went on to win the 1200m event again this year ahead of the Murray trained Coolotta and Virgo Lass, who ended second and third respectively.
“I still can’t believe it to be honest,” said trainer Paul Murray.
“We were really set on Chief in Command having a good race and knew Coolotta would come home late, as he is really a 1400m horse.
“Virgo Lass was not quite up to those other two but wasn’t far away, as showed at the end of the race.
“She was fresh coming in but we thought we would put her out there on Dad’s special day.
“To be honest, the day couldn’t have ended any better, following a couple of strong results earlier in the day.
“Following the race, we researched if Dad had ever won the trifecta before and we only found that he had finished as the top two before.
“It’s fair to say Dad was looking over this race day.”
The Mollymook Cup has been going since 1979, since Bede and his two mates Robert Powell and Eddie Ladder approached the Turf Club about hosting a race day for Milton-Ulladulla up in Nowra – which therefore started the prestigious Mollymook Cup.
Bede actually won the first running of the cup with his horse Sure and Fast that same year.
“The day only gets bigger every year and it’s great to see so many people from Milton and Ulladulla get behind it,” Murray said. “I heard there was more than four bus loads there, which is just awesome.
“And hopefully with the event now being a memorial day for Dad, it will continue to get bigger in the future.”
As this was also the first memorial day for Bede, Turf Club chief executive Lynn Locke presented Bede’s widow Edie with a plaque honouring Bede for his contribution to the South Coast track.
“The presentation to our family was unbelievable and a great gesture from the club,” Murray said.
“And to have Chief in Command on the bottom of the plaque, which went on to win an hour and a half later, was very special.
“It was pointed out that that horse was appropriately named for Dad, who was seen as a chief in his own right and in command of this Cup day, which he won an amazing eight times.”
The inaugural Bede Murray Memorial Race was won by How Sweet It Is trained by Matthew Smith and ridden by Mitchell Bell.
Other winners on the on the seven race program included Lord Kingsley, in the 1200m maiden handicap, Kawaikini, in the 1100m maiden plate, Breathing Fire, in the 1400m maiden handicap, Dramatico, in the 1200m class 1 handicap and Silver Threads, in the 1600m benchmark 55 handicap.