Local trainer Symon Wilde made the opening day of the Warrnambool Three-Day Carnival registering a five-timer, including the quinella in the feature race of the day.
After landing divisions of the maiden hurdle with Count Zero and Rider In The Snow, Wilde also won a maiden flat race with Mio Capo and later in the program another flat win with As I Please.
But it was the Brierly Steeplechase that provided Wilde with his biggest win of the afternoon.
In a heart-stopping finish Vanguard , the $2.70 favourite under Will Gordon, claimed his stablemate Britannicus ($4.40) in the shadows of the post to score by a half-neck with Police Camp ($31) a further 20 lengths away third.
“What a race, I loved the spectacle,” Wilde said of the Brierly.
“I really love staying horses, we’re lucky enough to have the set-up we have, we’ve got a fantastic team and we’re able to showcase our wonderful staff at this meeting, that’s the best part about it.
“A big part of it is Liam Hoy, he’s done a terrific job.
“He organises everything, I’m very unorganised, he does all the organising and all our plans have come to fruition.
“Sometimes in racing these happen, and I feel very lucky.”
A large crowd was back at the ‘Bool after two COVID years and they certainly enjoyed the Brierly spectacle after Britannicus opened up a sizeable mid-race lead before fighting tooth-and-nail with his stablemate in the run home.
Wilde said Vanguard was purchased out of New Zealand specifically for the Carnival and providing the gelding pulls-up satisfactorily, he will reappear in the Grand Annual Steeplechase and join American In Paris in Australia’s longest race while Britannicus was an unlikely starter.
Gordon was fined $2400 by Stewards after being over the permitted whip strikes prior to the 100m mark and then for consecutive strides inside the final 100m.
Aaron Mitchell was taken to the local hospital for scans on a wrist after falling from Valac at the second last fence and after being initially winded, Valac was given the all-clear by vets suffering superficial abrasions.