An emotional Grant Williams farewelled his successful Victorian spring campaign in style with his star mare Arcadia Queen taking out the Group One Mackinnon Stakes.
“If you told me at the start of spring that she would be winning two Group One races, I’d take that,” the trainer said after the 2000 metre event at Flemington.
Williams will return to Perth on Tuesday after moving to Victoria in late July with a handful of owner Bob Peters’ star horses.
Williams said early on in it was tough going with Arcadia Queen as he had to work his way through some issues but she was tough enough to keep pushing on.
Arcadia Queen also won the Caulfield Stakes at Group One level before she finished an unlucky fifth in the Cox Plate
Williams was based at Brent Stanley’s Sutton Grange property near Bendigo and while he was in Victoria he won seven races from 24 starters with his other city winners including Windstorm and Superstorm.
He said it had been a challenge coming to Melbourne and he was pleased that he could also have success here.
Owner Bob Peters said Arcadia Queen’s victory on Saturday showcased her great talent.
“She’s been very unlucky in the big ones,” Peters said.
“She was knocked down in The Everest last year and also the Cox Plate. She proved what she can do today.
“We’ll bring her home. We won’t make any decisions until she’s home and we’ve seen how she’s pulled up.”
One of the key members of the Peters’ team, top Perth jockey Willie Pike, headed home to Western Australia on Thursday as he needed to quarantine for two weeks to ride in the Railway Stakes at Ascot on November 21.
His replacement Luke Currie called on Pike to advise him how to ride Arcadia Queen and Pike filled him with confidence.
“I spoke to ‘Pikey’ the other day and he said it doesn’t matter where she is, if she’s travelling up, she’ll be too good for them and he was spot-on,” Currie said.
“She’s all quality. She’s pretty special.
“She’s so big and imposing, just the way she comes out. As soon as you ask her, she goes. She was amazing today.”
Arcadia Queen defeated Fifty Stars by 1-3/4 lengths with Melody Belle another three-quarters of a length away third.