While he may never be mentioned in the same breath as racing’s champions, diminutive stayer Destiny’s Kiss has joined an exclusive club with his Listed Australia Day Cup victory.
The eight-year-old took his career earnings past $1 million with back-to-back victories in the race over 2400m at Randwick.
After being ridden quietly by Brenton Avdulla, Destiny’s Kiss loomed up on the rail in the straight.
His fighting spirit was again on show as he wore down the gallant Shalmaneser ($9) at the 100m mark with Foreign Prince ($7.50) finishing another 2-1/2 lengths away third.
“He’s just a little horse with such a big heart and he deserved that today,” trainer Joe Pride’s racing manager Hayley Devlin said.
“When it got to putting the pressure on he let down beautifully.”
The win strengthened his record on wet tracks with 12 of his 15 wins coming on rain-affected surfaces.
Destiny’s Kiss has now returned $1,040,403 for owner-breeder Nick Moraitis and the gelding will be rewarded with a spell after winning his third stakes race for the campaign.
“I think that deserves a holiday more than anything,” Devlin said.
Avdulla is two from two on Destiny’s Kiss after winning on him at the same track in the Listed Tattersall’s Club Cup on January 2.
“It’s taken me eight years to get on him but I finally got on him twice and won two on him,” Avdulla said.
“I basically got in the pilot’s seat and pointed him around and he’s done everything perfectly.”
With a muddling tempo mid-race, Index Linked’s jockey Hugh Bowman took the initiative and injected some speed into the contest.
“It gave me some good genuine speed and a cart forward,” Avdulla said.
“I was happy cutting the turn and letting the horse do the rest.”
Country Championship hopefuls Pumpkin Pie and Hanwritten stamped their credentials for next month’s qualifiers with strong victories at the meeting.
The Matthew Dunn-trained Hanwritten is heading for the opening qualifier at Grafton on February 12 while the Danny Williams-trained Pumpkin Pie will be aimed at the Goulburn race on February 12.