Gai Waterhouse’s former Sydney Cup winner The Offer returned to racing and the winner’s stall at Hawkesbury Racecourse on Thursday afternoon carrying the hefty top weight to victory over Dragon Flyer in an upset Rowley Mile 2015 result.
The seven-year-old Montjeu gelding raced first-up in the $100,000 Listed ILG XXXX Gold Hawkesbury Rowley Mile (1600m) with top Sydney hoop Blake Shinn riding the Group 1 winning stayer on the 61kg top weight.
In a gutsy effort the veteran handled the kilos without issue and on the line The Offer ($8) had a length to spare over the John Thompson-trained one time favourite Dragon Flyer ($3.30) who came off an impressive four length Canterbury win from August 12.
Shinn gave the galloper a top class ride, turning the Rowley Mile into a genuine staying test with The Offer coming from the back of the pack to take off on the turn for home and outlast his rivals.
Finishing off the Rowley Mile trifecta a further two lengths away in a distant third was then Garry Frazer’s local hope Campania ($6), while the Chris Waller-trained favourite Rugged Cross ($3.20) was fourth some four lengths off the winner.
“We wanted to be positive early, but it was evident I couldn’t be there,” Shinn told AAP.
“With the weight I just let him settle and Campania was back on the inside and Dragon Flyer was pocketed away in front of me.
“I knew he was a staying horse and we had stamina on our side.”
The Rowley Mile win was The Offer’s first since his elite level success in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Randwick in April of last year.
Having now amassed over $1.25 million in prize money with seven wins from 23 starts, The Offer looks on track for a notable Sydney Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
He was geared towards the Melbourne Cup last spring in Victoria before connections pulled the pin after he failed to come on, including his disappointing 11th to the ill-fated Japanese raider Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in his final run that campaign.
Waterhouse has slightly different plans this time in, but hasn’t directly ruled out another attempt at making the field for the ‘race that stops the nation’ with the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) running at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Earlier in the week Waterhouse named the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick Racecourse on Epsom Handicap Day, October 3, a race Waterhouse boasts a record eight wins in.
Waterhouse’s previous The Metropolitan winners are: Te Akau Nick (1992), Electronic (1995), Hula Flight (1996), Coco Cobanna (2000), Dress Circle (2001), Herculian Prince (2010) and most recently Glencadam Gold (2012).
On Thursday Tulloch Lodge stable rep Chris Armstrong said that the Melbourne Cup 2015 was also still definitely being considered an option by connections.
“It’d be nice to have another cup in the stable,” he said.
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2015 Rowley Mile Results
Hawkesbury Race 6 – 20/08/2015
|1||1||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||–||4||61kg||$8|
|2||6||DRAGON FLYER||John P Thompson||Kerrin McEvoy||1L||3||54kg||$3.30|
|3||3||CAMPANIA||Garry Frazer||Tommy Berry||3L||2||54kg||$6|
|4||2||RUGGED CROSS (GB)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||4.2L||5||57kg||$3.20F|
|5||4||FOOTY FAN||Wade Slinkard||Ms Claire Nutman (a)||6.6L||1||54kg||$4.40|
|6||8||COLOR PURPLE||William Slater||Jay Ford||12.5L||6||54kg||$71|
|–||5||UNCLE SUGAR (NZ)||Tara & Philippe Vigouroux||Ms Winona Costin (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||7||VITE LONI||Terry Croft||Christian Reith||–||0||–||–|