Kathy O’Hara sat her mount ROCKET TIGER (Cluster-Takook) who had won on debut, but in Canberra and then in the steward’s room, up on the outside of the favourite from the get go and he just proved too tough down the running at …$26.
The win while a shock result and a vast improvement from the winner, didn’t surprise everyone, especially people who watch the betting very closely.
Those who backed VANDOULA LASS (Vancouver-Doula), who opened a raging hot fav at $1.90 this morning, watched in horror as she just blew like a windy day at Cronulla beach.
After winning easily and impressively on debut in Melbourne in town she came up to Sydney, looking to dominate with her speed, but the rain came and, well, confidence flew out the window. She blew in the betting.
She just kept drifting and drifting and when Silver Thorn become cast in the gates, causing all horses to be unloaded from the barriers, she kept blowing in the cool Sydney breeze.
Silver Thorn was scratched and his movements in the gates caused top rider James McDonald to be injured. He hobbled away from the barriers when he dismounted.
But, the race itself was a beauty.
Vandoula Lass jumped like a scalded cat and took the early lead from the bush horse Rocket Tiger with Cochrane, who had been backed, sitting just behind them.
You wouldn’t have guessed the favourite was in any way off as they swung for home when both she and the lowly-rated Rocket Tiger dropped the field. Even caller Darren Flindell seemed to expect the bush horse to drop off all the way down the straight.
It just didn’t happen and trainer Scott Spackman was all smiled after his battling outsider overhauled the Team Hawkes trained favourite over the last 150m.
“I’m just so proud of this horse,” said Spackman who was in tears. “This is my first interview and my first city win.”
“I said to Kathy (O’Hara) that once this horse gets his head in front he doesn’t give up. He is the best horse I’ve ever had.”
You could see how much this meant to Spackman.
“Obviously he’s stronger for the run he had at Canberra when he won,” said Kathy O’Hara. “But he was super tough and he wanted to win this.
“He has a lot of improvement in him too. He is right up with this grade.”
Spackman, when realizing all this just chocked up.
Godolphin’s VIANELLO (Teofilo-Serenissima) who was unbeaten until today, ran home strongly, to grab 3rd…carrying 2kg less than the winner.