Victory Hotel set for the Rockhampton Cup this weekend
THE well-worn adage of its era had it that iconic Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba's sister couldn't sing and from an analogous perspective so it is among thoroughbreds.
Take for instance Victory Hotel, although literally speaking there is little chance of that happening. Why would there be?
After all, Victory Hotel, the quaintly named four-year-old son of the deceased Grand Lodge stallion Hotel Grand, crushed his 13 rivals in the $25,000 DLV Finance/SMW Group Tattersalls Cup (1600m) at Callaghan Park on Saturday.
Aided and abetted by a faultless ride by classy apprentice rider James Orman, Victory Hotel made it three wins on the trot thereby galloping his way into a far more lucrative Cup assault; that is the $100,000 Advanced Exhausts Rockhampton Cup (1600m) on Saturday, June 20.
More on that soon, but back to Dame Nellie Melba or more so Satin Dream, the mother of Victory Hotel.
While her son has the ultra impressive CV of eight wins and six placings from 15 race starts, not so Satin Dream.
Incidentally, seven of Victory Hotel's wins under the tutorship of Bundaberg mentor Darryl Gardiner have been at Callaghan Park, thereby having earned the gelding the rightful tag of a true-blue track specialist.
Gardiner also trained Satin Dream (Clang-Ellanell x Brave Warrior), which was owned by the Dorrington family who race her son Victory Hotel as well.
Seven years to the day of Victory Hotel's best win to date in last Saturday's Tatt's Cup, old Satin Dream produced one of her best efforts when third of 10 in a lowly Gayndah Maiden on June 7, 2008.
In all Satin Dream had nine starts but retired a maidener but her interlude with the dual GR 1 winner Hotel Grand thereby producing Victory Hotel has given workaholic Gardiner much to dream about.
Comfortably fitting the niche of a hard-working, somewhat low-profile trainer who has for decades worked his craft around Bundaberg and the Burnett district, Gardiner has every right to be proud of Victory Hotel's feats.
"He's going very well and has been a consistent horse and really loves Callaghan Park", Gardiner, a man of few words who lets his horses do the talking, was delighted to say.
Similar to last year's Rockhampton Cup winner Vandalised, which loomed large in the Tatt's Cup but felt his 61kg over the final stages, Victory Hotel will get his chance in Saturday week's Rocky Cup.
That's because more than likely with weights compressed he will come into the Cup on or very close to the 54kg minimum.
Conversely that will also work in favour of Vandalised as, while his weight anchored him to finish 2.4 lengths sixth on Saturday, he will meet Victory Hotel on much better terms in the race that counts - the Rocky Cup.
Then again, there is another parallel which must be considered from a Rocky Cup perspective.
Last year, Vandalised also made it three successive wins at Callaghan Park, culminating in the Tattersalls Cup before winning the Rockhampton Cup. That's exactly the form line Victory Hotel brings into Rockhampton's richest sporting event.
It looms large as an intriguing race and deserves the support and attendance of sporting enthusiasts of all persuasions from the Rockhampton region and beyond.