Mornington trainer Shane Nichols did it tough himself while Streets Of Avalon was fighting out the finish of the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
Nichols suffered a heart attack late last spring but Streets Of Avalon tested his recovery in a thrilling finish to the $500,000 race.
Nichols could do nothing but watch jockey Zac Spain throw everything at Streets Of Avalon in the drive to the line before the game gelding held on to win by a half-length over the Chris Waller-trained Imaging.
Streets of Avalon has done it and wins the C.F Orr Stakes.
Zac Spain wins his first Group 1. ?? pic.twitter.com/DdddjP2me0
Nichols’ wife Brooke also had to monitor her excitement levels in the exciting finish as she is due to give birth this month.
The trainer said Streets Of Avalon’s second Group 1 win made up for the difficult period he faced in the weeks after his heart attack.
“It was a tough time,” Nichols said. “The well-wishes and things made it all seem a little bit easier and days like today, that and family is what you live for.
Streets Of Avalon held off Imaging to win the CF Orr Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“The heart was racing. I gave it a test out and it came through in flying colours. I don’t know whether mine works as good as his (Streets Of Avalon’s).”
Streets Of Avalon’s bravery also landed Spain his first Group 1 win, repaying the faith of Nichols and the horse’s owners, who have stuck with the jockey in 26 of the six-year-old’s races.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Spain said. “I celebrated a bit after the line and was calling out a fair bit. He’s just been a super horse to me. Career-changing, really. He was my first Listed, then Group 2 and now a Group 1.
“I can’t thank Shane, and Phil Warren and the whole ownership group (enough). They’ve stuck strong with me and to repay them with a Group 1 win is fantastic.”
Zac Spain snared the biggest win of his career in the CF Orr Stakes. Picture: Bret Holburt/Racing PhotosSource:Getty Images
While Streets Of Avalon’s camp were celebrating, Sir Dragonet’s connections and punters that backed the Cox Plate winner to start as a $2.70 favourite were left to lament a dour performance from the stallion.
Sir Dragonet settled in the second half of the field but failed to make any inroads in the second half of the race under jockey Glen Boss, beating only two rivals home.
Boss said the firm track was not the reason for Sir Dragonet’s effort.
“He was very dour with me,” Boss said. “But we’ve learnt a valuable lesson today. He’s obviously going to be better on soft (ground).
“But I’m not going to blame the track at all. The track is in great condition and his action was fine. We just found that he hasn’t got the speed to win over seven (furlongs – 1400m).”
ON THE PUNT — CAULFIELD
CONFUSING NAME, CLEAR WINNER
Regardsmaree’s name confuses many but the gelding again got the job done for punters in the opening race at Caulfield.
Regardsmaree is often thought of as a mare because of his name but the son of So You Think had little trouble notching his fifth win in 14 starts as a $1.85 favourite at Caulfield.
Local trainer Nick Ryan thought about running Regardsmaree in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes but decided to take the lesser option with the emerging galloper.
“It (the name) tricks a few, it tricks most but he’s certainly gelding,” Ryan said. “He’s really coming to hand and as I’ve been saying he’s slow maturing and that was a good win again.”
La Mexicana was such a handful in the mounting yard that co-trainer Sam Freedman forgot to give jockey Jamie Kah her instructions before the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).
But top jockeys often don’t need instructions, especially Kah, who had ridden La Mexicana in her previous starts for four wins. Kah had a little trouble getting La Mexicana into clear running early in the straight but the three-year-old held on to beat the honest Malicorne by a short half-head.
“She was in a bit of a mood today,” Freedman said of La Mexicana. “She got to the mounting yard and woke up a bit but I jumped on the other side (of the horse) and forgot to give the instructions to Jamie.”
Freedman said the stable would aim La Mexicana at the Group 1 Surround Stakes in Sydney in three weeks’ time.
La Mexicana was one of three winners for jockey Jamie Kah at Caulfield. Picture: Racing PhotosSource:Getty Images
TRIPLE TREAT FOR KAH
La Mexicana was the second of three winners for high-flying premiership leader Jamie Kah on CF Orr Stakes day.
Kah won the colts and geldings’ Blue Diamond Prelude on General Beau before closing the day with a win on the Sam and Anthony Freedman-trained Prophet’s Thumb in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m).
Kah rode with great success in Adelaide before moving to Melbourne but wasn’t sentimental for her home state in the Rubiton Stakes, driving Prophet’s Thumb to a narrow win over South Australian-trained duo Garner and Bold Star.
Kah’s latest treble took her to 56 city winners for the 2020/21 season and extended her lead to 16 over her nearest rival Damian Lane, who booted home a double on Arcaded and Probabeel.
NASTY FALL FOR KING
Victoria Derby-winning jockey Lachie King was lucky to walk away from a nasty fall at Saturday’s Yarra Glen meeting.
King was aboard the Leon and Troy Corstens-trained Rip City as the gelding clipped heels and crashed to the turf rounding the home turn of the sixth race of the day.
Rip City regained his feet and moved on while King took a few seconds to get to his feet.
Paramedics looked over King before taking the rider to Maroondah Hospital for precautionary scans.
Very proud of Ginibi today? First start in a race with a 5th in the group 2 ? Blue diamond prelude from barrier 12. #legend ? pic.twitter.com/oJdEsqK1F9
GINIBI DELIGHTS GEMMA
Nobody was happier with an unplaced run at Caulfield than local trainer Gemma Rielly after Ginibi ran fifth in the fillies’ Blue Diamond Prelude.
Ginibi was a $2000 weanling buy but earned more than double her purchase price when she picked up $5000 for her debut outing on Saturday. “I thought she ran really well,” Rielly said. “She’s very raw but she’s got plenty of ability and I think she’ll be my next city winner.”
“That ride from Ollie just now R6 @MelbRacingClub was like pinching wheat off a sick chook, 15 out of 10,” four-time Cox Plate-winning jockey Brent Thomson (@dulcifybp) gave his seal of approval to Damien Oliver’s ride on Best Of Days.
THEY SAID IT
“When I saw the (camera) car kept pulling up towards Ollie I thought ‘damn it’,” star jockey Jamie Kah wondered whether her mount General Beau had been beaten by Damien Oliver on Anamoe in the Blue Diamond Prelude.
Originally published asOrr inspiring: Streets tests Nichols’ ticker in tough fight
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