A $750 bargain buy for Ballarat-based hobby trainer Colin Rees more than paid off at Flemington on Finals Day over the weekend with Automatic Choice scoring an upset in the Taj Rossi Series Final 2015.
Opening the nine-race Melbourne card on Saturday was the two-year-olds facing off in the $120,000 Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) where the Peter Moody-trained El Greco jumped the $3.50 favourite.
While there was only a nose in the result it wasn’t the shortie in the markets that was first past the post, a stellar on-the-pace ride from Darren Gauci seeing Rees’ Delightful Choice gelding Automatic Choice hold off the punters’ pick and salute at a $71 starting price.
In a close third just a quarter length off the winner to finish off the trifecta was then another roughie, the locally prepared David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Flying Light ($61).
Gauci has been in flying form in Melbourne this winter winning three of his past four Saturday rides and finishing a close second in the other thanks to a winning double at Caulfield last Saturday.
He was happy to pick up the ride on the longshot in the Taj Rossi after Automatic Choice’s regular rider John Keating couldn’t make the 54kg minimum weight.
“Lately I’ve been getting on better quality horses which helps,” Gauci said.
“I watched this horse’s tapes from races over 1400 metres and one thing I thought was the mile would be up his alley.
“I’m not saying I thought he could win, but I thought he could run a good race.”
The Taj Rossi Series Final result was Rees’ maiden Black Type success as a trainer and it couldn’t have happened with a better horse, Automatic Choice picked up for a steal.
After his own mare Beach D’Or failed to get into foal, the now 75-year-old Rees went looking for a weanling and picked up the subsequent Taj Rossi Series Final winner for only $570.
“I actually bought him because I didn’t get my other mare in foal, I had another foal by him and when I couldn’t get my mare in foal I went back and bought this one. I spent $750,” Rees told Racing Victoria.
Saturday was Automatic Choice’s fifth career start and his second win, the up-and-comer having now collected $83,190 in prize money with proven form up to a mile also a plus heading towards the spring.
The galloper broke his maiden status on May 30 at Warracknabeal when beating the field as a $41 shot over 1200m and is tipped to continue improving over more distance.
For now though, Rees is just happy to celebrate the big Finals Day win at Flemington with his sole horse in work.
“I have had a winner here before, but I can’t tell you when exactly … it was in the 80s,” he said.
“I ran second in a Stakes race here about 20 years ago.
“It’s just great to win anywhere.”
See below for the full Taj Rossi Series Final 2015 results then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to get behind your favourites in the next winter Black Types this weekend!
2015 Taj Rossi Series Final Finishing Order
Flemington Race 1 – 11/07/2015
|1||5||AUTOMATIC CHOICE||Colin Rees||Darren Gauci||–||6||54kg||$71|
|2||1||EL GRECO Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Peter G Moody||Damien Oliver||0.1L||5||59kg||$3.50F|
|3||11||FLYING LIGHT Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Harry Coffey (a)||0.3L||7||54kg||$61|
|4||3||BENGAL CAT Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||John Sadler||Craig Williams||1.3L||13||55kg||$5|
|5||2||ROYAL RUMBLE Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Clare Lindop||2.05L||11||57kg||$5|
|6||7||GUNGASTRUCK Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Mick Price||Michael Dee (a)||3.05L||12||54kg||$41|
|7||9||MA RAISON (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||Dwayne Dunn||3.15L||8||54kg||$14|
|8||4||IRADA||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||3.25L||3||54kg||$4.80|
|9||8||PARMALOVE||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Ms Linda Meech||7.25L||2||54kg||$14|
|10||10||PARTY BOY Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Cory Parish||7.35L||1||54kg||$61|
|11||12||TRIPLE EFFORT Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Glen Boss||7.55L||4||54kg||$81|
|12||13||AYERS ROCK Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Shawn Mathrick||Jason Benbow||8.55L||10||54kg||$71|
|13||6||AYDA||Colin & Cindy Alderson||Chris Parnham||11.55L||9||54kg||$19|