Matt Hoysted didn’t have to wait long to open his winning account as a co-trainer when improving mare Ocean Treaty made it four wins on end when she was too good at Doomben.
Leading Eagle Farm trainer Steve O’Dea announced last week he was going into partnership with Hoysted, who has been his assistant the past few years.
Hoysted, who has a background of working with a host of leading stables in Victoria, including Lloyd Williams during the Efficient and Zipping era, said it gave him an extra buzz having his name alongside a winner for the first time.
“I’m very privileged to have this opportunity afforded to me by Steve and it’s a great way to kick off,” Hoysted said.
Ocean Treaty is a daughter of Cox Plate winner Ocean Park and is the winner of four races in seven starts.
She was ridden by Ben Thompson, who has also made a big impression in his first two months since moving to Queensland, with this being his 20th winner since August 27.
Paredo might have been a “weak” filly in her debut preparation but maturity is working wonders at the moment and both Toby Edmonds and Robbie Fradd have tipped a bright future after she tenaciously won the QTIS Three-Year-Old Fillies Handicap (1200m).
Paredo had won first up just 10 days earlier at Ipswich in Maiden grade but was impressive enough to be sent out the $3 favourite and she didn’t let her backers down.
Dusty Tycoon, the people’s horse with a thousand owners, looked to have the race parcelled up when she kicked clear halfway up the running, but Paredo kept coming.
“We gave her three starts during the Covid (zone racing period) but she was physically weak,” Edmonds said.
“We tipped her out and she’s just blossomed since.
“She’s from a good family and she can only get better. We think she will run a mile at some stage.”
Fradd said Paredo might be better when she can find her feet a little more, rather than being bustled.
Love Struck continued his productive campaign when landing the Class 6 Handicap, in his first win over the 1615m journey.
Trainer Scott Morissey said Love Struck was probably a touch underdone at his previous start after having 28 days between runs, but he had tightened right up for yesterday’ assignment.
Jockey Micheal Hellyer took advantage of a lack of speed in the race and settled outside Destiny’s Own in the run. The pair set a pedestrian tempo and then Love Struck packed a few too many guns in the run to the line.
The easing $3.10 favourite Ziemba settled out the back and was never a winning hope as the leaders scooted home in 33.92 seconds.
SIR DRAGONET ROCKETS INTO CUP CONTENTION
The Melbourne Cup was turned on its head as the Cox Plate became the logical reference point for the great race.
Sir Dragonet rocketed up betting charts for the Cup, installed at $9 second elect with Ladbrokes behind Aidan O’Brien’s Tiger Moth.
Surprise Baby is on the same line as Sir Dragonet, with Anthony Van Dyck ($10) and Verry Elleegant ($10) next best. Russian Camelot eased to $13.
On the evidence presented on Saturday, the Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace-trained Sir Dragonet will take a power of beating.
The furthest he’s been tested to date is 2900m, where he was a respectable fourth in last year’s English St Leger.
He was also close up in Anthony Van Dyck’s Epsom Derby and with 55.5kg in the Cup, gets a handy 3kg weight pull off that horse in the Cup.
Though only a handful of horses have won the Cox Plate-Cup double in the same year, the fact is, it’s not often attempted.
The last horse to make a tilt was So You Think, who ran bravely for third in 2010 under 56kg.
Before him, the last Plate winner to run in the Cup was Makybe Diva. She won with 58kg.
Saintly did so in 1996. He won with 55.5kg.
So the modern history of achieving the tilt is pretty solid.
Punters were all over Sir Dragonet’s credentials and you suspect they will be pretty keen to double up in the Cup.
GOOD EARLY CALL
It was a straight-forward decision for stewards to call off the Doomben meeting after the downpour.
After Doomben received 26mm of rain in 10 minutes, there was surface water from the winning post to the crossing going out of the straight and similar concerns from the 800m to the 600m.
“Initially we put them back one race to give the track an opportunity to dry, but upon inspection it became evident there were areas of concern,” chief steward Peter Chadwick said.
It was probably a blessing, in terms of looking after the surface.
Doomben still has another four meetings scheduled over the next three weeks (with another 10 races likely next Saturday), so the early call saved the surface from being carved up in later races.
Racing Queensland has announced a fourth round of financial support for race clubs, bringing the total to almost $8 million.
“Club revenues continue to be impacted by the ongoing patron restrictions associated with COVID-19,” RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said.
The latest round carries through until the end of this year.
The Brisbane Racing Club had 4000 at Doomben yesterday and 3500 the previous Saturday.
Melbourne Cup Day capacity for the venue is 7000.
Chief executive Tony Partridge said retail revenues had started to return to pre-COVID levels, but sponsorships and corporate bookings were still well down on what they were pre-pandemic.
“Retail has been strong in the members and public areas, but the corporate hospitality market will take more time to recover,” he said.
CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
The ultimate gear change has worked wonders for Kavak, who made it two from two this prep when winning the Three-Year-Old C&G Handicap (1200m).
Kavak was an impressive winner on debut last season and ran second to classy types The Drinks Cart and Rathlin before the wheels fell off in his winter campaign.
Chris Munce ordered a gelding operation after the Ken Russell Memorial in May and he’s now won at Caloundra and Doomben since resuming.
“He wasn’t having a go. He was looking after himself a bit,” Munce said.