Stanathol crashes the party
THERE was no doubt that Rockhampton trainer Tim Cook wanted to win the feature race named in honour of his partner, the Carly-Mae Pye Memorial Class 3 Plate over 1050 metres at Callaghan Park on Saturday.
So much so, he had three runners in the race, until Samarah Girl was a late scratching, leaving Someplace and Zaha Express to get the job done.
And the massive 5000 strong crowd lining the track for the St Peter's Caulfield Cup Race Day were also right behind Cook. Because it would have been a fairy-tale finish to what has been a most difficult year for Cook and his stables.
And everyone loves fairy tales.
But it wasn't to be. Everyone held their breath in the sprint up the straight because it was a close run thing, with Cook's Zaha Express with Alisha Taylor on-board just unable to catch classy sprinter Stanathol, ridden superbly by Nicole Vuille.
After the race, Stanathol's trainer Jared Wehlow looked a little embarrassed and possibly a touch guilty his horse had crashed the party.
"It is always good to win a race," Wehlow said.
"And I am honoured to win that race, but it would have meant a lot more to Timmy than to me if he had won it."
It was a very strong run from Stanathol, the sprinter having come back from a racing bar after bucking in his last start at Kilcoy.
"He is a good sprinter," Wehlow said.
"He won't go much further than that, so this short race was ideal.
"It's only his second run this preparation because his first he bucked in the race at Kilcoy and just followed them around. I thought he would win there until he bucked in the race. So we had to trial him because he had a bar on him.
"So, I wasn't sure how he would go, but if he behaved himself I knew he was a good chance. If he gets to the front, where he likes to be, he is hard to beat. He is a fast horse."
Jockey Nicole Vuille agreed.
"We drew barrier 10 and we weren't sure how he'd go because he bucked last race," Vuille said.
"But he jumped the gates and just ran through the form and covered them easily."
In third place was Tom Button-trained Green Empire with Ashley Butler in the saddle.
"Mate, it was good run, I'm happy with that," Button said.
"He's been spelled for 18 months and it's his first race back after injury.
"The 1000 metres is too short for him but he hit the line real good there at the end."