Talented gelding Havana lost as a short-priced favourite in Brisbane last weekend, but returned to winning form with an impressive win over a strong field in the 2014 Fred Best Classic at Doomben this afternoon.
Well-backed favourite Hucklebuck surprisingly took up the running in the early stages of the race and jockey Luke Nolen settled Havana on the rail just behind the leader.
Havana saved ground on the rail coming around the turn and was locked in a fierce battle with Hucklebuck, Into The Red and Dothraki, but was too strong in the final stages of the race and scored his maiden win at Group level.
Nolen, who has been a regular visitor to Queensland for the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, said that he has had a high opinion of Havana since he rode him as a two-year-old in the Group 2 Todman Stakes and believes that he has now developed into a very strong horse.
“I like the weather and it makes the trip home a bit shorter when you do ride winners,” Nolen said.
“I rode him once before when he was a real juvenile when he was still a colt and I liked him then, they cut him and I think that has been the making of him, he is a smart horse.
“I think that he has that good cruising speed and I think that he will be quiet effective out to a mile.
“Paul is doing a terrific job with his team and I won’t give him too many instructions that way.”
Nolen will be riding in the Doomben Cup (2000m) for the fifth time in his career this afternoon and he will partner talented Floria in the Group 1 event.
The stable of Peter Moody has been fairly bullish about the chances of Floria in the Doomben Cup, pointing to their success with Cinque Cento in 2007, and Nolen believes that the daughter of Savabeel will perform well.
“She is going well,” Nolen said.
“Pete has been dying to get her out to a trip of the mile and a quarter of today.
“We are favorably drawn, she will be forward in the run and I am quietly confident that she will equip herself well. “
Each Saturday of the Brisbane winter carnival Ladbrokes.com.au will pay out 20% more on the feature race.
Punters who back the winners of the Doomben Cup, Doomben 10,000, Queensland Oaks and Stradbroke Handicap will receive a 20% bonus on Best Tote or Starting Price of their selection!
Sign-up and deposit at Ladbrokes.com.au to take advantage of this offer throughout the winter carnival.
2014 Fred Best Classic Results
|1||8||HAVANA||Paul Messara||Luke Nolen||–||2||57kg||$14|
|2||6||INTO THE RED||Kelso Wood||Chris Munce||1L||6||57kg||$26|
|3||1||DOTHRAKI||Gerald Ryan||Nash Rawiller||1.1L||10||57kg||$6|
|4||3||HUCKLEBUCK||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||1.4L||5||57kg||$2.90F|
|5||2||SAFEGUARD||John O’Shea||James McDonald||1.5L||9||57kg||$8|
|6||4||SIR MOMENTS||Steven O’dea||Timothy Bell||2.8L||8||57kg||$13|
|7||16||MISS HUSSON||Bruce W Hill||Craig Newitt||2.9L||7||55kg||$71|
|8||14||SPLENDORA||Matthew Dunn||Glen Colless||3.2L||4||55kg||$31|
|9||7||VOODOO BLUE MAGIC||Les Ross||Ryan Wiggins||3.4L||1||57kg||$71|
|10||9||FRIENDLY DRAGON||Les Ross||Brad Stewart||5.2L||16||57kg||$41|
|11||11||OLYMPIC ANTHEM (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Michael Cahill||5.4L||15||57kg||$101|
|12||10||PALMERA LAD||Roslyn Pratt||Anthony Allen (a)||5.6L||12||57kg||$21|
|13||12||ENQUARE||Jason McLachlan||Jim Byrne||5.8L||11||55kg||$7.50|
|14||5||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||6.1L||3||57kg||$14|
|15||13||QUEEN OF THE LOCHS||Mick Mair||Ms Tegan Harrison (a)||7.6L||13||55kg||$21|
|16||15||LIZARDS LOVER||Anthony Honess||Jim Cassidy||12.9L||14||55kg||$61|