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Sport

2 September, 2020

$600 people horse wins Cairns Cup

Mareeba trainer Alex Malliff was all smiles when his $600 dollar horse Paniagua won the coveted Cairns cup on Friday afternoon.

By Phil Brandel

2020 Cairns Cup winner Paniagua and Trainer Alex Malliff

The win makes it 6 from 6 after winning a maiden in Atherton in May. The bay gelding now has a total of $144,250 winnings next to its name.

Connections to Paniagua woke with a hangover on Saturday after the four-year-old bay gelding won in the Cairns cup on Friday afternoon.

Mareeba trainer Alex Malliff said he couldn’t believe how well a horse that he bought for only $600 has been doing.

“Every time we ask him to take a step up he does,” Alex said

 “I’m not even sure it has sunk in, it just been one big thrill.”

While Paniagua has 7 owners from across the Far North celebrations in Cairns went into the early morning.

“We had already organised a party win, lose or draw as we wanted to celebrate his success right through the winter carnival.”

Alex said he bought Paniagua for 600 hundred dollars because he had already trained his full brother Terrasaurus.

“He won 4 races, but due to health issues he was retired early,” he said

“He had an abundance of talent and I just thought if he was half as good as his brother, he would be worth it.

“I threw a bid in without telling my wife, she was going to hit me with a frying pan for buying him, so now his nickname at the stable is Fry.

“The transport to get him here cost more.”

Paniagua has now won 6 from 6 since his maiden win including the Guineas in Townsville and Mackay earlier in the year but things weren’t always so positive.

Alex said that before he bought him he had two starts in Toowoomba and was beaten collectively by about 35 lengths.

“That’s why nobody else wanted him, I also gave him 3 other starts before he finally won a maiden in Atherton,”

“He has matured really well; he obviously likes his life here on the Tablelands.”

At the time of the race Paniagua was favourite paying about 5 dollars making local punters very happy.

Alex said he really wanted to show his appreciation to the owners and to the residents on the Tablelands. “I really appreciate the ownership group of this horse; this win has really repaid their loyalty,” he said

“People always stop me on the street and ask me how he is going, he really is the people’s horse as everyone just loves him.

“We now are giving him a break in the paddock and we will give him a go in Brisbane towards at the end of the year.”

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