The Tony McEvoy-trained Despatch has claimed a local victory and given jockey Todd Pannell a first Group One win in Adelaide’s showcase sprint, The Goodwood, at Morphettville.
Saturday’s 1200m-race was delayed several minutes when favourite Spright had to be re-shod behind the barriers.
Once it was underway, Pannell took Despatch ($21) to the front and maintained his rhythm.
When the challengers came, Despatch showed tenacity to hit the line a half neck ahead of Behemoth ( $13).
Sangster Stakes winner Spright ($3.20) made ground along the rail after getting well back to finish 1-1/4 lengths from the runner-up.
“This feels pretty good,” Pannell told broadcaster racing.com.
“I was thinking to myself on the way back, ‘this is the Goodwood'”.
Although McEvoy has expressed his disappointment with funding issues in South Australia and is building a new complex at Ballarat, the home town win still thrilled the trainer.
“This is the Goodwood – it means everything,” he said.
“What a courageous performance. To lead wasn’t the plan but it was a great ride by Todd.
“This horse has come a long way and is a real, bright sprinter.”
Despatch has now won seven of his 11 starts with the Goodwood his first over 1200m.
McEvoy will mull over his next move.
“He’s in the Stradbroke in Brisbane,” he said.
“But he’s probably done his job for now.”