The money came for the boom 3YO Crosshaven and for the Gr 1 Cox Plate winner, but they were both man-handled by the battling, scrapping STREETS OF AVALON (Magnus-Kamuniak) in the Gr 1 CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
The 1400m race worth $500,000 didn’t ever look like going to the big guns.
This motley crew of trainer Shane Nicholls, who last year had a heart attack and was pondering what he would do with his life, along with rider Zac Spain, a young man who learned how to ride by attending a few TAFE courses and who had never landed a Gr 1 winner before, and of course the rising 7YO Streets Of Avalon who has now won just shy of $2million in prize money, dominated.
“The heart was racing. This race gave it a test out and came through with flying colours,” beamed Nicholls who knows how lucky he is.
“It was just a remarkable effort by a really tough horse. We had that run under his belt leading into this which helped him.
“But he is just a warrior. I’m beside myself with how good this is for all of us, especially Zac.”
IMAGING (Oasis Dream-Mirror Lake) who has spent time racing in Europe, was the unlucky story being trapped three wide all the way. He moved up when they straightened, went past Streets Of Avalon who then went into warrior mode.
“I celebrated on the line and I was yelling and screaming,” announced Spain after the race.
“Imaging went past me and this just shows how good a trainer Shane Nicholls is. I can’t believe this
“My parents and brothers would be watching this and probably all are shedding tears. This is the horse who gave me my first Gr 2 winner and now first ever Gr 1 winner.”
Back in 3rd was the highly touted CROSSHAVEN (Smart Missile-Irish Colleen) who looks to have an incredible autumn campaign ahead of him. He was near speed all the way, while fresh here and did a great job to hang on for 3rd.
But all credit goes to trainer Nicholls, jockey Spain and the winner.
“It was a tough time when lying in the hospital bed after a heart attack. But days like today along with your family are what you live for,” claimed the trainer.
“Guys like Zachy Spain they just need an opportunity. He got it today. He’s the story.”
Sir Dragonet was a very, very disappointing 7th and just didn’t look like he wanted to stretch out.