Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Trainer Darren Weir is likely to press onto the 2017 VRC Derby with his progressive young stayer Cliff’s Edge who powered home for a dominant Ladbrokes Classic win on Caulfield Cup Day.
The Canford Cliffs colt won at Caulfield over the mile two back before being found out at Flemington on October 7, run down late by Main Stage for a second in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m).
Returning to his preferred track at Caulfield on Saturday for the Group 3 $350,000 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m), registered as the Norman Robinson Stakes, Cliff’s Edge was always going to be a danger.
“The run [in the UCI Stakes] definitely toughened him up,” Weir said post-win on Cup Day.
“Getting back to Caulfield, where he dictated and was able to kick on the corner.”
Extending out to the 2000m for the first time, the up-and-comer was given a perfectly-timed ride by the in-form Irish hoop John Allen who was backing-up from a successful day out at Warrnambool yesterday where he rode four winners for Weir.
Allen steadily worked up on Cliff’s Edge after the jump to take up the lead from Ataraxia, while the Chris Waller-trained Tangled got a cushy run throughout in third.
The James Cummings-trained UCI Stakes winner Main Stage meanwhile was tucked away fifth on the fence, needing luck to work into contention as the pace quickened approaching the turn for home.
Allen still hadn’t asked Cliff’s Edge for anything 400m out and by the 300m the horse had far too much left in the tank having dictated the pace throughout, working up through the gears.
All the other runners were left chasing as Allen went for home on the front-runner, Cliff’s Edge ($3.80) ultra-impressive powering late and bolting home to score by two and a half lengths from Tangled ($5).
It was a photo for third, Main Stage ($3.90) just holding on to round out the Ladbrokes Classic trifecta ahead of the race roughie Aberro ($31).
“Today he switched off beautiful,” Allen said.
“I knew when I gave a little squeeze at the 600m…he had plenty left there.
“He did it with a bit of ease.
“He’s improved every start and gone from strength-to-strength.”
The Ladbrokes Classic is a traditional lead-up into the Group 1 $1.5 million Victoria Derby (2500m) run at Flemington on Saturday November 4 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Weir is yet to prepare a Victoria Derby winner but on the strength of today’s win, is keen to give Cliff’s Edge the chance to do the Norman Robinson Stakes – VRC Derby double for the first time since Polanski (2013).
“He’s got a great racing style,” Weir said.
“He loves bowling along in front and relaxes so well.
“I don’t really know [about the VRC Derby], I suppose you’d have to have a throw at the stumps the way he went today.
“We’ll have a look how he pulls up and decide from there.”
2017 Ladbrokes Classic Results
Caulfield Race 4 – 21/10/2010
|1||2||CLIFF’S EDGE||Darren Weir||John Allen||–||8||57kg||$3.80F|
|2||1||TANGLED||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||2.75L||5||57kg||$5|
|3||4||MAIN STAGE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Mark Zahra||5L||1||57kg||$4|
|4||6||ABERRO||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||5.1L||2||57kg||$31|
|5||3||ESHTIRAAK||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||5.2L||6||57kg||$12|
|6||7||TAVISTOCK ABBEY (NZ)||Anthony Freedman||Luke Currie||8.45L||4||57kg||$6.50|
|7||8||SWEET MISCHIEF||Tony McEvoy||Joao Moreira||9.95L||3||55kg||$31|
|8||5||ATARAXIA||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||10.35L||7||57kg||$9|
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