A plan hatched months ago by trainer Kris Less paid off when Sixties Groove won the Group Two Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
Following placings in the Doomben Cup and PJ O’Shea Stakes in his lead-up, Sixties Groove ($3.80) withstood a determined challenge from Grey Lion ($11) to win by three quarters of a length with Big Duke ($26) 2-1/2 lengths away third.
“This was our target all the way along and after he ran so well in the Doomben Cup we knew we were heading in the right direction,” stable spokesman Cameron Swan said.
“He’s been as honest as the day is long and it was a brilliant ride from Damien (Oliver).
“At the 600m I was wondering where he was going to go but he kept improving, finding the runs and the horse was good enough to take them.”
In a post-race scare, Oliver dismounted from Sixties Groove as the gelding was led back to the enclosure.
“He pulled up a little bit sore. I don’t think it’s anything too drastic but it was just precautionary that I got off him,” Oliver said.
“The last few strides before I pulled him up he put in a couple of short ones. Maybe he’s stood on himself or it might be a shoe and there’s nothing too serious but we’ll know more when he cools down.”
Oliver settled Sixties Groove well back on the fence before navigating a path in the straight to hit the lead inside the final 100 metres.
“I had to go back early, take our medicine and ride him for luck,” Oliver said.
“We know he’s got a good finish. I got some nice runs through them coming to the turn and then it came down to a bit of a war with Grey Lion and we were able to come out on top.
“Getting to Eagle Farm on the bigger track over a mile and a half really suited him.”
It was Oliver’s third win in the Brisbane Cup following Sheer Kingston (1999) and Viewed (2008) while it was the first for Lees.
Haripour was heavily backed to start the $3.10 favourite but could manage only eigth while cult hero The Candy Man ($7.5) beat only three runners home after racing wide for the first half of the race.