Sunshine Coast trainer Stuart Kendrick is dreaming the 2015 Stradbroke Handicap dream with his smart sprinter Neo after the horse’s win in the Prime Minister’s Cup at the Gold Coast on Hollindale Stakes Day.
In a race where, tragically, the favourite The Peak looked the likely winner traveling sweetly before breaking down, a gun ride from Jim Byrne got One Cool Cat five-year-old Neo to the line first in the $100,000 Listed Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup (1400m).
The in-form Neo had been travelling towards a well-deserved win over the autumn with close runs around Queensland during March and his last start second behind Gundy Sun over the 1350m at Doomben on April 11.
He and Byrne were able to break a drought going back to a New Zealand win in the wet last April in the PM’s Cup though after getting a lovely run in third throughout.
“He’s done a great job,” Kendrick said.
“He’s had some bad gates, finally we got a good gate today.
“Up to the 1400m suits him.
“Jim gave him a great ride.”
The Bart & James Cummings-trained The Peak was one of the first to go from the gates, Brisbane hoop Damian Browne later doing an incredible job to pull the horse up when he broke his back hind leg 100m from the line and not cause interference to any of the other runners.
Roughie shot War Ends also began quickly and went up to lead together with the Glen Boss-ridden Final Crescendo.
The two highest-rated and weighted runners The Peak (57kg) and Ninth Legion (60.5kg) meanwhile were both caught deep off the pace.
Five hundred metres from home approaching the turn, Neo began to peel out from three deep beside The Peak who was still four deep at the top of the straight.
With 200m to go Neo ($7) went up, just before The Peak broke down, to race off and score just ahead of a very brave Ninth Legion ($4.20) whose performance with the big weight was unbelievable.
Tony Gollan’s last start Doomben winner Gundy Spirit ($9), ridden by Tegan Harrison, finished off the minor placings in third having run home strongly down the outside over the closing stages.
Impressed with the Prime Minister’s Cup result, Kendrick confirmed they were still looking at a June 6 run at Doomben Racecourse in Queensland’s richest race – the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m), with Neo who could next start in the $125,000 Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) on Doomben Cup Day on May 9.
“He’s a tough horse, he’s thrived since his last run and he put it all together today,” Kendrick said.
“We’ve got him nominated for the Stradbroke so that’s not off the cards now.”
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2015 Prime Minister’s Cup Results & Finishing Order
Gold Coast Race 5 – 25/04/2015
|1||7||NEO (NZ)||Stuart Kendrick||Jim Byrne||–||5||54kg||$6|
|2||1||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Blake Shinn||1L||11||60.5kg||$4.20|
|3||6||GUNDY SPIRIT||Tony Gollan||Tegan Harrison||1.8L||13||54kg||$7|
|4||12||BODEGA NEGRA||Bruce W Hill||Glen Colless||2L||14||54kg||$31|
|5||3||EPIC||Kelly Schweida||Luke Tarrant (a)||2.1L||10||56kg||$26|
|6||9||JOPA||Robert Heathcote||Paul Hammersley||4.4L||8||54kg||$13|
|7||5||FINAL CRESCENDO||David Kelly||Glen Boss||5.2L||4||54kg||$9|
|8||13||WAR ENDS||Maryann Brosnan||Michael Cahill||7.2L||6||54kg||$41|
|9||8||GRAYSON SQUARE (NZ)||Brian Wakefield||Jason Taylor||7.4L||2||54kg||$12|
|10||11||BILLY AUCASH||Brian Smith||Ryan Wiggins||8.4L||12||54kg||$101|
|11||4||JETSET LAD (NZ)||Brian Smith||Anthony Allen||9.4L||3||56kg||$21|
|12||10||PERFECT PUNCH||Maryann Brosnan||Ric McMahon||9.6L||1||54kg||$51|
|13||14||KEREDARI (IRE)||Marcus Wilson||Jeff Lloyd||10.9L||9||54kg||$101|
|FF||2||THE PEAK||Bart & James Cummings||Damian Browne||–||7||57kg||$4F|