Lightly raced Surprise Baby has given his jockey Dean Holland a second Adelaide Cup and his trainer Paul Preusker a first with an impressive staying performance in the Morphettville feature.
Having just his sixth race start, Surprise Baby ($4.80) chimed in strongly to hit the front with 200m to run in Monday’s 3200m-Group Two race and strode clear to win by 1-3/4 lengths.
Top Of The Range ($10), ridden by Western Australia’s premier jockey William Pike, ran home into second with $4.60 favourite Naval Warfare another three-quarters of a length third.
Surprise Baby finished fourth to promising imported stayer Schabau over 2000m at Flemington on February 16 but his Cup preparation was dealt a blow when the four-year-old missed a planned lead-up race over 2500m at The Valley on March 1 when he was scratched after playing up in the barriers.
“I threw the toys out of the cot, to be honest, at Moonee Valley,” Preusker told broadcaster racing.com.
But the trainer said by the time he got home that night he was again focused on the Adelaide Cup, and after riding Surprise Baby to victory Holland praised the training performance.
Holland won his first Adelaide Cup in 2015 on Tanby and said he was confident from a long way out in Monday’s race that untapped stayer Surprise Baby was going to give him another.
“He’s so young still and he’s still learning, but he just had the great run and geez he was strong to the line,” Holland said.
‘He was never going to get beaten from about the 800 metre mark so I just didn’t want to get too excited.
“I was lucky to get one (Adelaide Cup). I’m very lucky to get another one.”
After a fall in the eighth race on the program, jockey Dean Yendall has been taken to hospital for scans with the Victorian Jockeys’ Association reporting he has a possible hip injury and concussion.
Fellow riders Kayla Crowther and Emily Finnigan walked back to scale after the fall.