Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed exceeded the expectations of the bookies and punters on Australia Day, the classy mare resuming in a triumphant return to the turf winning the John Dillon Stakes 2012 at Caulfield.
Racing for the first time since her Mackinnon Stakes fourth on Derby Day last October, Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas’ savvy Southern Image four-year-old overcame a hefty weight and the odds to score a strong three-quarter length win in the $100,000 John Dillon Stakes (1400m) on Thursday.
Ridden by Craig Williams at 60kg, Southern Speed ($9) did everything right in her first-up run of the season, beating home the Peter Moody-trained Shout Out Loud ($6) by a tidy margin, while Robbie Griffiths‘ veteran eight-year-old Danzylum ($11) finished off the trifecta just a short-half-head away third.
“I was expecting her to be running on strongly, you always doubt whether they can win at 1400 (metres) when they’re a staying horse, but she really showed her class,” co-trainer Macdonald said on Thursday.
“She does look much better now than she did early in the spring.
“Her coat hadn’t turned in the spring, but I think she was a bit more forward today than she was in the spring.
“That was a great effort.
“She had 60 kilograms over a short trip, but he (jockey Craig Williams) sat up on her at the end.
“It was a really good win.”
Southern Speed not only overcame the weight, the boys and the unsuitable distance, she also impressed piping-hot hoop Craig Williams.
“When I was looking for a run I was asking for her and she just kept lengthening and lengthening and when I got to the run it was there for her to go and it just worked out really well,” Williams, aboard Southern Speed for her four most recent runs including the Caulfield Cup triumph, said.
“It was like trackwork for her. The gallop worked out well for her and she was really strong on the wire.
“It’s a great start to the autumn campaign.”
The John Dillon Stakes win was also the perfect indication that the $2.1 million earner was on song for her next Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival major, the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10.
Southern Speed’s next assignment is set to be a tough one as she will come head-to-head with the world’s highest-rated mare Black Caviar in the $400,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 2.
“If we run a nice second (to Black Caviar) I’ll be happy,” Macdonald said.
Following the Australian Cup, Southern Speed could then progress onto the lucrative $2.25 million Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day, April 7.
Meanwhile Black Caviar will shoot for win number 17 tonight under the lights at Moonee Valley as she jumps the devastatingly short-priced favourite ($1.30 Luxbet) in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m).
To back Southern Speed next race or Black Caviar tonight at the best price, head to Luxbet and join the online betting revolution at Australia’s best bookie.
2012 John Dillon Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 6 – 26/01/2012
|1||1||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Williams||–||1||60kg||$9|
|2||9||SHOUT OUT LOUD||Peter G Moody||Dwayne Dunn||0.75L||6||54.5kg||$6|
|3||6||DANZYLUM||Robbie Griffiths||Luke Currie||0.85L||7||55kg||$11|
|4||8||SHADOWFAX (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||0.95L||5||54.5kg||$5.50|
|5||10||AT THE HEADS (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||1.05L||3||54kg||$4.80F|
|6||12||VEEWAP||Tony Vasil||Craig Newitt||2.8L||11||54kg||$21|
|7||13||ROYAL RAMBLER||Michael Drew||Michael Walker||3.55L||2||54kg||$26|
|8||4||KING DIAMOND||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||3.65L||10||56kg||$26|
|9||5||CHASM||Brendan McCarthy||Chris Symons||5.4L||4||55.5kg||$7|
|10||7||VIVID VIXEN (NZ)||Mick Price||Glen Boss||7.15L||9||55kg||$9.50|
|11||11||SADDLER’S STORY||Robert Smerdon||Ms Lisa Cropp||12.65L||8||54kg||$151|
|–||3||LARGO LAD||David Hayes||Steven Arnold||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||SOUND JOURNEY||Darren Magro||Danny Nikolic||–||0||–||–|