Glen Innes Trainer Paddy Cunningham wins Diggers Cup with Hula Girl as Inverell's Patti Smith cheers home Devlann

Glen Innes trainer Paddy Cunningham won the Diggers Cup on Saturday with his consistent mare Hula Girl but the emotional win of the day was when Inverell’s Patti Smith cheered home Devlann in the Local Appliance Rentals Plate.

Devlann was bred by Patti from her Inverell Cup winning broodmare Excellent Ann and is trained locally by Patti’s son Dean.

The win comes only a month after the death of Patti’s husband Stan who had been part of the northern racing scene for many years.

The Inverell Jockey Club race book contained a memorial page in honour of Stan Smith so the winning day will long remembered by the family and friends.

Devlann showed great promise early in his career with a slashing second in his first start on Inverell Cup Day 2015 and then winning at Lismore.

Since returning from a two-year injury-forced spell, the gelding his been mixing form but bounded back with a big six-length win in class record time for the Inverell 1600 metre trip.

Devlann’s time was actually quicker then Hula Girl’s time in the open class Diggers Cup where jockey Terry Treichel bought up a double in a close finish from Latitat and Kilmarnock.

Shane Edmonds trained Mishani Scout started $2.80 favourite but was just under 2 lengths from the winner when the field hit the winning post.

Cunningham’s stable is always a force in racing over the summer months in the north and he won last year’s bonus as the leading trainer at the northern cup carnivals.

The presentation for the Diggers Cup was spoiled by a heavy shower but was popular with the local RSL racegoers and their guests from Macksville as Hula Girl was a well-supported second favourite.

The locals had more to cheer about when Heart of Thunder showed his liking for its home track with a hard fought win in the Laser Plumbing Handicap.

Heart of Thunder won at Inverell in January 2016 but had not been able to run a place since despite travelling to venues as far as Kempsey and Caloundra so trainer Nathaniel Scott may aim the “track specialist” for a race over the upcoming Boxing Day and New Year ’s Day Inverell meetings.

The rain showers during the afternoon put a dampener on the party groups from the local NAB and CBA banks whose enthusiasm and effort with race day fashions deserved a sunnier day.

Melissa Perrin won the guests tipping competition scoring a double pass to the Christmas meetings where live music will again feature after the races on Boxing Day.