In-form jockey Jye McNeil kicked straight on from his maiden Group 1 win at Flemington last Saturday to dominate Bairnsdale Cup day 24 hours later.
After partnering the Chris Waller-trained Kings Will Dream to Turnbull Stakes victory, McNeil capped his Bairnsdale treble with victory on Reserve Street for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in the $70,000 Patties Foods Bairnsdale Cup (1600m).
McNeil’s earlier wins came on on Cavalero ($3.40 favourite) for Shea Eden and Princess Flagrant ($8) for Jason Warren.
The 2019 edition of the Cup was a hotly contested affair, Reserve Street ($5) controlling the race from outside the speed before holding off Heptagon ($3.10 favourite).
A recent Tatura Cup winner, Reserve Street will not be short of country cups in the coming weeks with Seymour (October 20) and Sale (October 27) possible targets.
The feature sprint on the day — the $35,000 Win TV Tesbury Jack Sprint BM70 Handicap (1200m) — saw an impressive win to the Hayes/Dabernig-trained $2.50 favourite Muswellbrook, partnered by Ethan Brown.
The promising four-year-old was resuming from a spell and looks set for a lucrative preparation.
The race honoured former local champ Tesbury Jack, a three-time listed winner, Group 2 winner and runner-up in the 2007 Group 1 Goodwood at Morphettville.
The happiest man on course at Bairnsdale on Sunday was local MP, Victorian Shadow Minister for Racing and former custodian of this column Tim Bull, who heads a syndicate which owns a small share in Kings Will Dream.
The Bully’s Boys syndicate has experienced the highs and lows of racing with the talented Irish import, but thankfully there have been more highs. A winner of his first six starts in Australia, Kings Will Dream was placed three times at Group 1 level last preparation before suffering a severe pelvic injury in last year’s Cox Plate.
Bully’s Boys include Bull, Chris Martin, Bairnsdale Racing Club life member Michael Sadler, Greg Scott, Murray Webb, Peter Reed, Brett Pund, Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh and federal MP Damian Drum.
It was feared Kings Will Dream would not survive when he suffered a pelvic fracture and was eased out of the race as Winx famously won her fourth Cox Plate last spring.
It’s been a long road back to recovery, with many hours of work put in by the team at the Ballarat Veterinary Clinic and in recent times by Chris Waller and his team.
There were emotional scenes in the mounting yard last Saturday when Kings Will Dream held off Melbourne Cup-bound stablemate Finche to record a stunning win in the Turnbull.
Remarkably, having cheated death in the Cox Plate last year, Kings Will Dream is heading back to that famous race, with bookmakers trimming his price from $26 to $15. Mark Zahra will ride Kings Will Dream in the Cox Plate.
Training partners Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young had a mixed day at Bairnsdale, highlighted by four-year-old mare Queen of Ascot’s impressive win under gun apprentice Teo Nugent in the Fenning Timber Maiden Plate (1600m).
Young was on course with children Ben and Zara, as Main Stage was a competitive fifth in the cup, Havaduel narrowly beaten in the benchmark 64 (2000m) and Zara around the placings in the fashions on the field.
It’s a busy time of year for Busuttin and Young, with 65 horses in work at the Cranbourne training centre and a serious Caulfield/Melbourne Cup chance, Mirage Dancer, in quarantine at Werribee.
The six-year-old son of Frankel, who was trained by Sir Michael Stoute in England, is a winner of four of his 16 starts and has amassed $466,505, with three of his wins at 2400 metres.
Young has quickly fallen in love with the impressive stallion, “He’s so cuddly for a stallion, I can’t get enough of him,” she said. “He comes out of quarantine on Saturday and will run in the Caulfield Cup (October 19).”
The Busuttin/Young stable will chase Group 1 glory on Saturday at Caulfield with Acting and I Am Eloquent in the Thousand Guineas and The Holy One in the Caulfield Guineas.
Busuttin and Young moved to Cranbourne in mid-2016, not long after their Australian Derby success with Tavago. Although they’ve tasted success in Group 2s and 3s since the move, the majors have remained elusive.
They head to Caulfield full of confidence with all three last-start winners.
The Holy One won the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1500m), I Am Eloquent the listed Jim Moloney Stakes (1400 metres) and Acting the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400 metres).
One senses the in-form Busuttin/Young stable is set for a big spring.
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Scuzi has had a few homes but did run a cracking race for new trainer Kasey Wilson recently at Moe (September 24), running second. The mare has done well since and is sure to be competitive in the fillies-and-mares benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m) at Cranbourne on Friday night.