What began as an experiment has turned into a coup for Sydney racing with Japanese mare Hana’s Goal taking out the Group One All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
Hana’s Goal and Irish horse Gordon Lord Byron were the only two international horses to make the long trip to Australia for the autumn and both leave with Group One wins.
Gordon Lord Byron won the George Ryder Stakes at his first Sydney start but it took Hana’s Goal a little longer to acclimatise.
A last-minute decision to keep her in Sydney after her eye-catching sixth in the Doncaster two weeks ago paid off with the mare winding up from last under Nash Rawiller to win the final Sydney Group One of the season.
Victory speaks its own language and her Japanese support crew had just one word of English to describe the win – “happy, happy, happy”.
Sent out at $10, Hana’s Goal beat Weary ($5.50) by two lengths with Tiger Tees ($7) another half length third.
Favourite Rebel Dane ($2.20) was stuck wide for much of the race and finished fifth after failing to produce his usual sprint.
Hana’s Goal’s Australian owner Michael Tabart returned to Japan after the Doncaster to meet his new baby girl but his father Laurie was on hand to watch the win.
“Plan A was the Coolmore and the Doncaster,” he said.
“This was Plan B. It has made it worthwhile.
“Michael will decide what happens next but because of quarantine regulations it will be a while before she is allowed to race in Japan.
“She has been invited to Queensland and she is also entered for Singapore next month so that may be the way to go.”
Tabart said the experiment had been worthwhile but more needed to be done to make quarantine easier.
Hana’s Goal showed her class as a three-year-old when she won a Group Three race in which Gentildonna finished fourth.
Gentildonna has gone on to list two Japan Cups and the Dubai Sheema Classic among her Group One wins.
There were few hard luck stories with Weary’s jockey Tommy Berry proud of the import’s effort after his Doncaster third.
“That was a beautiful run today, he just got beaten by a better horse again,” he said.
“You’ve got to remember he’s done this in his first preparation here. He’s a ready-made race horse for next season.”
Rebel Dane’s trainer Gary Portelli said the four-year-old, who ran second to star sprinter Lankan Rupee in the TJ Smith Stakes, was still on track for a Brisbane campaign.
“The only thing I can take out of it is he did a pretty good job not showing his cards,” he said.
“We thought he had recovered beautifully from the run on the heavy track but obviously it took more out of him than he let on.
“He will go to Brisbane for sure. I will freshen him up and he will run four weeks from now in the Doomben 10,000. But I want to make sure he’s all right first.”