Shaun Dwyer has given Miss Leonidas the thumbs-up following her brave resumption at The Valley last Saturday, when she finished a close-up seventh under Dwayne Dunn in the $200,000 Group 2 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes.
After rearing in the barriers and having to be vetted prior to the start, the I Am Invincible mare was slow to begin when the field was released shortly after she was reloaded.
The bad luck didn’t end there, as she was exposed three wide the trip without cover, riding the speed set by Faatinah and Eduardo.
“She’s come through the run really well, which given her history is always important,” Dwyer said.
“If she’d jumped with them from an inside gate, Dwayne was of the opinion she’d have run in the top three.”
Dwyer is hoping Dunn will stick with his mare as he progresses to the $1 million Group 1 Moir Stakes on September 27.
“I had her pretty much ready to go but she’s always improved second up.
“I’ll give her a good hitout on the course proper next week and she’ll take on what will probably be a similar field, with maybe Nature Strip thrown in as well.”
Like Nature Strip, Miss Leonidas is a natural on-pacer and Dwyer has decided it’s best to let her roll.
“I tried holding up Miss Leonidas earlier in her career as well but at the end of the day she is what she is and I’ve given up doing that.”
In other stable news, Dwyer has marked next Tuesday’s meeting at Wangaratta to kick off the promising Chilula’s preparation, while he is hoping an unnamed Street Boss youngster can make it to the two-year-old race at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day.
Grey joins big day
This year’s Jayco Bendigo Cup day has gained another drawcard, with retired champion sprinter Chautauqua to lead out the cup field.
Now transitioning to a career as a show horse in the care of Rob Gaylard and Casey Bruce, “The Grey Flash” is sure to be a popular addition to the big day.
Tickets are available for the October 30 event via country.racing.com/bendigo
Cooter breaks drought
Bendigo trainer Daryn Drust made the trip to Wodonga count on Monday with Cooter Cha Cha ($8.50) notching a third win.
The race didn’t pan out as planned — the gelding settled at the rear after his connections told the stewards he would be ridden forward — but a mid-race move by jockey Jason Baldock had the six-year-old there when the whips were cracking.
He outstayed his rivals for a 1½-length victory in the 2050-metre benchmark 58.
The Delightful Choice gelding’s last win came 14 months earlier, when he scored at Wangaratta at odds of $151.