A spring carnival that almost wasn’t for Arabian Gold has started on the best possible note when she upset odds-on favourite Catkins to claim the $300,000 Golden Pendant at Rosehill.
Trainer David Vandyke contemplated resting the mare for the spring after a tough winter campaign in which she trod on a shoe and almost derailed her Queensland Oaks bid.
“This is her fifth straight carnival,” Vandyke said.
“After that torrid campaign up north it’s just 100 per cent (credit) to this bonny mare. She’s come back and the world’s her oyster at the moment after that performance.”
In an all-grey finish, Catkins started the shortest-priced favourite on the program at $1.50 but had no answer when Arabian Gold, who had stalked her throughout, got a late split on the rails and dived through to score by a half length.
Owner Nick Moraitis said the win was made more special because he bred the mare.
Arabian Gold will go to Melbourne for the Toorak Handicap and a win there will elevate her to the ranks of Group One winners and open the door for a possible Cox Plate tilt.
Winning jockey Blake Shinn said he was confident in the run and sweated on a split in the straight when he could see Catkins’ effort had peaked.
“Throughout the race when I was able to find Catkins’ back I was supremely confident,” he said.
“I knew she’d quicken, it was just a matter of waiting for that gap and once we found it it was pretty special to be on top of her.”
“She’s got a big spring ahead of her and she was electric.”
The win was a belated birthday present for Shinn who turned 27 on Friday.
The Chris Waller stable wasn’t disappointed with the performance of Catkins who will press on to Melbourne where the Myer Classic is her goal.