The weekend’s feature race favourite Big Duke...
Four-year-old sprinter Despatch claimed a maiden Group 1 victory at Morphettville on Saturday winning the Goodwood (1200m) to see off the 2019 Adelaide Racing Carnival in style.
The Tony McEvoy trained gelding by Written Tycoon led for the majority of the trip and remained strong over the final furlong to hold on by a head.
Second place-getter Behemoth flew home late to pose a challenge down the straight, but Despatch cleverly lunged towards the line with winning jockey Todd Pannell on board.
The win made it three-straight for Despatch this prep after a triumphant win in last fortnight’s DC McKay Stakes on the same track. It was also a maiden Group 1 win for Pannell, although the 34-year-old admits it’s still a bit of a shock.
“Even just coming back there I just kept telling myself this is The Goodwood. It hasn’t sunk in yet but it’s good to get a win on the board” Pannell said after the race.
Pannell always knew he was a chance after a handy jump from the gate. The pace was on early, but Despatch’s opening turn of foot proved too much in the end.
“He jumped too good and got into his stride straight away and probably after a furlong I thought I’m going to take it up here. He just sort of strode along and had a good cheap run mid-race and had a good kick at the finish” Pannell went on to say.
“I’m still there at the 100 metres and I thought there’s nothing really challenging me here and he just had to hold on that last little bit and he got there in that half a neck at the finish. He’s a pretty tough horse, he’s done well this prep.”
Now with three runs under his belt this prep, McEvoy plans to eye the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
“He’s done his job this prep probably, I’ve got him in the Stradbroke but we’ll make a decision whether we go there or we’ll wait for the Spring.”
Despatch remains a $26.00 chance for the feature race of the Brisbane Carnival on June 8.
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