The 2021 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes will be a race that will live long in the memory of jockey Zac Spain who claimed his first win at the elite level in the race with a terrific ride on the Shane Nichols trained Streets Of Avalon.
When Imaging bounded up alongside Streets Of Avalon in the final chase to the line, it looked like the momentum was with Imaging, but the sheer fight in Streets Of Avalon’s makeup refused to accept second place … and the six-year-old gelding bullied his way back and went on to claim a famous victory.
“The heart was racing,” said trainer Shane Nichols. “When Imaging came to him, I thought, gee we are in a bit of strife here, but he just came again. He found, and was holding the other horse on the line.
“He loves it when he has to dig really deep to find the line and, obviously, we had a run under our belt which helped him going into today somewhere near his top.
“I’ve got nothing but admiration for this horse. He is a warrior. For a horse to have had as many runs as he has and to still be fronting up and winning Group 1’s is a remarkable performance.
“As for Zac Spain. They just need to get an opportunity. They need to seize it. He got it. He seized it. Well done to him,” concluded Nichols.
And from Zac Spain, who couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
“I celebrated a bit after the line and was calling out a fair bit,” said Spain.
“He has just been such a super horse for me … career changing really. He was my first Listed winner, my first Group 2 winner and now my first Group 1 winner.
“I can’t thank Shane and the whole ownership group enough. They have stuck strong with me throughout and to repay them with a Group 1 win is just fantastic.
“Imaging did head me at one stage, but my horse is just tough as nails and rock-hard fit. It just shows how good a trainer Shane is to have him spot on.
“Hopefully mom and dad were watching … and my two brothers … and I hope I’ve made them proud of me.”