Gust gives Weir and Lane special victory

And the Trust In A Gust team thought they had fun picking off VOBIS Gold bonuses last racing season.

On Sunday they experienced the sweet taste of Group 1 victory with the tough entire, who scored a dramatic win in the Bendigo Bank East Malvern Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) at Caulfield.

The four-year-old warrior provided Darren Weir with his first Group 1 in his home state and young jockey Damian Lane with his maiden success at the highest level when he won the $400,000 event.

Adding to the drama, he had to survive a protest from runner-up Dissident before being declared the winner.

Weir, whose four previous Group 1 victories had come in Adelaide, could not have asked to bring up the milestone win in more fitting fashion.

“It’s a great thrill, they’re a great bunch of people and he’s a great little trier,” Weir said.

“It’s a great thrill for me to get one finally in Victoria, we hadn’t been able to do it, so to do it with little horse has been a great thrill with everyone that’s involved.

“He was bought by (bloodstock agent) John Foote who works for us, Jeremy (Rogers, racing manager) liked him and he was ridden by Damian, who does a lot of work for us.

“It’s just good for everyone involved. It’s great.”

Trust In A Gust, a $45,000 yearling purchase, collected $240,000 for his win, his ninth overall the third from four starts this time in.

It took to $865,400 total earnings for the son of Keep The Faith, who won more than $400,000 in a stellar three-year-old season that yielded three rich VOBIS Gold Premier Series victories.

He made that restricted form look good when he held off the Peter Moody-trained Dissident, who had logged Group 1 wins at his only two starts of the season, to score.

That pair engaged in a thrilling duel over the final 100m and while Dissident, who carried the 58kg top weight, had his head in front at the 50m Trust In A Gust (52kg) fought back and had his head down on the line.

Lane was made to sweat before celebrating victory after Dissident’s rider Ben Melham protested for interference at the 1200m mark, an objection stewards swiftly dismissed.

The decision paved the way for the 21-year-old native of Perth to celebrate the biggest win of his career.

“When I first came here Darren was one of my biggest supporters and probably helped me through my apprenticeship with a horse called Platelet,” Lane said.

“She took me through a tough time in my apprenticeship and it’s good to be getting on the big stage for him here a couple of years later.”

Trust In A Gust’s next start is now likely to be in another Group 1 race at Caulfield – the 1600m Toorak Handicap – which will be run on 11 October.


Guineas can’t come quick Enuff

Ken Keys is in for an exciting fortnight. The Cranbourne trainer on Sunday saw his boom three-year-old Rich Enuff further press his claims for the BECK Caulfield Guineas with a dazzling win in the Prelude for that $1 million Group 1 race.

The son of Written Tycoon charged to the top of TAB’s Caulfield Guineas market with a runaway win in the $175,000 Group 3 BECK Caulfield Guineas Prelude.

The colt toyed with a field containing many colts and geldings also heading towards the 11 October Guineas, defeating Looks Like The Cat and Awesome Rock.

He is now the $3.50 favourite for the Guineas, displacing Friday night’s impressive Stutt Stakes winner Almalad (now $4.60), and Keys said he is not going to be sure how he is going to cope with the countdown to potentially his biggest day in racing.

“It’s going to be a bit tough,” he said. “But it’s going to be very exciting.

“What do you do, though? You’ve just got to enjoy it.”

Michael Rodd, who partnered Rich Enuff to victory, is no stranger to Caulfield Guineas success, having won the 2008 edition aboard Whobegotyou, but he also can’t wait for the three-year-old feature.

“The next two weeks are going to be a bit on edge just to make sure we get him there, but it’s going to be a great day,” Rodd said.

The top jockey could not have been more impressed with Rich Enuff, who was posted four-wide for the first 300m before eventually finding the spot out the side but was still able to explode clear early in the straight.

Looks Like The Cat ($3.10) closed the margin to 2-1/2 lengths at the line, but Rodd gave the heavily-backed Rich Enuff ($4.60 to $3.70) an easy time of things the final 50m.

Awesome Rock ($8.50) again ran a solid race, but was a further 2-1/4 lengths away in third spot, just in advance of Wandjina ($81).

“What you saw on TV is how it really felt,” Rodd said. “It was very easy.

“He absolutely flew the barriers and I could have got across a lot quicker and maybe cleared them, but I didn’t want to run the risk of firing him up and having him do too much wrong, so I just grabbed onto him and got him back on the bridle.

“By the time we got across we’d done a fair bit of work and were rolling along, but he just does it so easy…that turn of foot is just incredible.”

Rich Enuff made it three wins from as many starts this time in following wins in the McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

Prelude win completes Afleet hat-trick

Afleet Esprit raced herself further up Schweppes Thousand Guineas betting charts with yet another victory at Caulfield on Sunday.

The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained three-year-old completed a hat-trick of wins when she got home in the $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Afleet Esprit shortened from $18 into $8 for the 11 October Guineas and Hayes said she’s capable of following Miss Finland and Irish Lights as his Thousand Guineas winners.

“I’d say she’s pretty good,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “It’s a bit early to put her in the class of Miss Finland, but I think she’d hold her own with most fillies.

“We’ll have a couple of nice weeks in the paddock and into the Guineas. She’s in really good shape.”

Afleet Esprit, a daughter of Black Caviar’s sire Bel Esprit, benefitted from an economical run just behind the speed to register the fourth win at just her sixth start.

She settled behind leader Traveston Girl, who was well supported from $5 into $4, on the fence and was able to pop out from behind her to early in the straight and put her head in front at the 200m.

Afleet Esprit ($6.50) was strong to line to get home by half-a-length from Amicus ($17), who was game after working hard mid-race, with Go Indy Go ($26) running a much improved race to charge into third from last, a further half-a-length away.

Bring Me The Maid, the $3.80 Guineas favourite going into the Prelude, settled in the second half of the field but never looked a winning chance and only battled into seventh placing.

Oliver said Afleet Esprit was at her top in the win, but said she deserved her shot at being stepped up to the mile given how well she’s going.

“She’s doing everything right to date and she’s been very much underrated,” he said. “She keeps winning but there always seems to be ones more favoured than her.

“She’s a ripping little filly, she gives you everything she’s got and she’s a pleasure to ride.”

Go Indy Go, a $21 chance in TAB’s Guineas market before the Prelude, is now the $4 favourite with Bring Me The Maid at $5.


Fourth Group One for Brilliant Buff

Star sprinter Buffering capped a remarkable night’s racing at Moonee Valley on Friday night with Magic Millions graduates sweeping all five group races on the card.

Now a four time Group One winner, Buffering beat home the world’s top rated sprinter Lankan Rupee and three others in a brilliant first up win.

Not the quickest from the barrier, Buffering soon took his place at the front of the field. He held that position throughout and under the urgings of star Queensland rider Damian Browne he held on for a short head success.

Winning trainer Rob Heathcote said his stable champion must be regarded as one of the world’s best short course performers.

“At the end of the day, he (Lankan Rupee) was the undisputed best sprinter in the world and we’ve just beaten him. So what’s that make us?”

“The time last year he beat Lucky Nine, when he was reputedly the best in the world, so I think it’s fair to say if my bloke’s not the best sprinter in the world, he’s in the top three,” Heathcote added.

Heathcote said Buffering would most likely have his next start in the Group One Manikato Stakes.

“We’ll stick with what we did last year and in three weeks time he’ll have a little jump out at Flemington to blow out the cobwebs and he’ll come back and do it again.”

Buffering was purchased by leading New Zealand bloodstock agent Paul Willetts for connections for $22,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale from the Racetree draft.

As it now stands his race record reads out at 16 wins and 17 minor placings from 43 starts and earnings of $4,748,900.

He is the winner of four Group One races and five other group events during a career in which he has consistently taken on the bast sprinters in Australasia.

One of 30 individual stakes winners for Success Express’ successful sire son Mossman, Buffering is one of four winners for his 100 per cent winning producing dam Action Annie.

A Sydney winning daughter of Anabaa, Action Annie is a half sister to the stakes performers Don’t Go Crazy and Instant Strike and hails from the family of Groiup One winners Relaxed Gesture and Martha Stevens.

All five group races on Friday night’s card were won by Magic Millions graduates with Dear Demi (Stocks Stakes), Eloping (Champagne Stakes), The Cleaner (JRA Cup) and Almalad (Bill Stutt Stakes) all proving too good.

Breeding barn beckons for Samaready

Dual Group 1-winning mare Samaready has been retired to the breeding barn and will visit All Too Hard this season.

Vinery Stud made the announcement on Twitter on Sunday morning after the five-year-old finished a lacklustre ninth in Saturday’s Group 3 Sportingbet Sprint Series Heat 2 Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.

Vinery Stud representative Connor Phelan confirmed the announcement to

“She will be returning to Vinery Stud and retired to the breeding barn,” Phelan said.

“We will settle her in and tee-up a visit to Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard.”

Phelan said All Too Hard, a four-time Group 1 winner, would be a “great mating” for a maiden mare.

“His first crop of foals were truly exceptional; he is very good mating and a great way to start her,” Phelan said.

Samaready, by More Than Ready out of Samar, is a Moir Stakes (1200m) and Blue Diamond (1200m) winner, and amassed almost $1.67 million in prize money, winning six of her 13 career starts including five wins at Black-Type level.

The mare was the heavily-backed $2.80 favourite in Saturday’s race but trainer Mick Price said following the race that the timing of the disappointing performance meant the probability of retiring the fiver-year-old was “firming”.

“She did pull her right-front plate off and they never run well when they do that but it’s a difficult time of the year being September 20,” Price said.

“Do you go to stud or do you continue on? I don’t want to continue on if we’re not going to get a result with her.”

Settling just behind the leaders, Samaready was under pressure turning for home and was eventually beaten 3.7 lengths by the winner Girl Guide.

Jockey Damien Oliver defended Samaready post-race.

“It was a very slowly run race early and they sprinted home and she has pulled a shoe,” Oliver said.

“She’s been going better than that and I’d just want to see her again.”