Trainer Nigel Blackiston has Melbourne Cup aspirations for Right Of Refusal after his runaway win in the VRC St Leger Stakes at Flemington.
Blackiston, who learned his trade from Bart Cummings, likened the three-year-old to Shiva’s Revenge who won the 1991 St Leger and finished second to stablemate Let’s Elope in the 1991 Melbourne Cup.
He said Right Of Refusal, who easily ran the 2800 metres on Monday, would try to emulate Shiva’s Revenge with a win in the SA Derby on May 8 before a spell and a tilt at the Cups.
“He reminds me a lot of Shiva’s Revenge who took the stepping stone and I’m hoping this fellow can continue on the same path,” Blackiston said.
An $18,000 Magic Millions yearling, Right Of Refusal impressed Blackiston at first sight and he bought him along with syndicators Alan and Adam Napier.
Right Of Refusal’s St Leger campaign was interrupted a month ago when he suffered a virus and Blackiston had to substitute a planned Caulfield run with a trip to Seymour races for a restricted race which the gelding won handsomely.
Last start he peaked for the St Leger with an eye-catching long neck second to Almodovar in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m), and he turned the tables on that horse on Monday with an awesome performance.
Jockey Michael Walker has been a big part of the Right Of Refusal’s success and told the owners before the race he was going to ride him where the horse was happy.
“The first time I rode him I said he was a high class animal,” Walker said.
“He was just pulling too hard in his races but I sort of sacrificed three rides on the horse by teaching him to settle”.
“I didn’t want him to be too handy today but he was happy to be there on a slow speed.
Right Of Refusal showed the trademark of a top horse with exciting acceleration in the home straight.
“The thing with him is that he either pulls or runs around and he was going that quick when I let him go that I let him run back to the rails,” Walker said.
“He won easily.”
Favourite at $5, Right Of Refusal scored by four lengths from Almodovar ($6) while Lloyd Williams-owned Weighted, backed from $9 to $5.50, filled third place another 1-1/4 lengths away.
Walker said if Right Of Refusal didn’t make it to the this year’s Melbourne Cup, watch out him for the following year.
Blackiston said Right Of Refusal was bred to stay and had the scope to develop in to a top horse.
“From day one at home he was the most laid back horse,” Blackiston said.
“He’s a really lovely horse. He sleeps at home all day and goes about his business like a real professional.”
Peter Moody said Almodovar was gallant in defeat but had come to the end of his campaign.
He will rely on Elusive King, who finished fourth to The Big Steel in Monday’s RSL Plate (2000m) at Flemington, to carry the stable hopes in the SA Derby (2500m) on May 8.