Wu Gok has proven he is more than just a wet track specialist with his second stakes win in the space of a week, adding the Wyong Gold Cup to his Premier’s Cup.
Six days after ploughing through heavy conditions in the Group Three race at Rosehill, Wu Gok has repeated the dose on a dry surface to capture Friday’s Listed 2100-metre feature.
After Wu Gok relegated James McDonald’s mount Come Play With Me into second place on Saturday, the jockey used the defeat to hatch a winning plan at Wyong.
“He beat me last Saturday and I learned a little bit off him because he stayed on really well and I thought, ‘there won’t be a horse that looks better than him today’, and he raced accordingly,” McDonald told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“It felt like I was on The Autumn Sun.”
Wu Gok races in the same colours belonging to Hermitage as last season’s star three-year-old.
In a masterful ride, McDonald took full advantage of the six-year-old’s fitness edge, settling on the back of the leaders and making an early move to take Wu Gok to the front approaching the home turn.
Stampede, who had made the running, quickly surrendered and while Hush Writer showed some fight he was no match for Wu Gok, holding on for second just ahead of the winner’s fast-finishing stablemate Vaucluse Bay.
Trainer Chris Waller has now won seven of the past 10 Wyong Cups and stable representative Jack Bruce said McDonald’s decision to stoke Wu Gok up before the turn was a winning one.
“He’s a strong stayer and it was a good ride,” Bruce said.
“He got on his bike and that’s the way you’ve got to ride Wyong. The experienced jockeys make these decisions and get it right.”
Destiny’s Kiss, the 2017 Wyong Cup winner, was having his 100th start in the race and while he could not pull off a fairytale win, his trainer Joe Pride did come away with victory in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) courtesy of Foxy Housewife.
Ridden by last season’s champion apprentice Robbie Dolan, Foxy Housewife finished resolutely from a midfield position to score by a head over Laburnum with favourite Connemara another half-length away.
Dolan, who has extended his indentures, was rapt to be given a stakes race opportunity on the former Queensland-trained mare.
“I don’t claim any more, even in the provincials, and it’s great to get these chances,” Dolan said.
“We jumped well and I just put her in a position where I was always around the fancied horses and the best jockeys in the race and thankfully it all worked out.”