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Darren Weir’s always-honest sprinter Hellbent displayed a devastating late turn of foot and overcame the worst part of the Moonee Valley track under the lights on Friday night to break his Group 1 duck in the William Reid Stakes 2018.
The five-year-old son of I Am Invincible added to his future value at stud securing his maiden elite level success at his sixth attempt at the top level.
“The owners have let us put him where we’ve wanted to and there’s been a little bit of frustration there, but finally we’ve got the result that the horse deserves,” Weir said on Friday night.
“He’ll find a home now, hopefully up at Yarraman.
“He’s an I Am Invincible colt, a beautiful looking horse with lots of ability, so he’s got plenty of things going for him.”
Improving on a devastatingly close second to Silent Sedition in the same race 12 months ago, Hellbent flew home late down the outside for a barnstorming win in the Group 1 $500,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
His winning time of 1:09.36 seconds was only 0.07 seconds outside the track record set by Miss Andretti.
The gun entire had previously gone one better than his Oakleigh Plate fourth from 2017 running third in the same lead-up from February 24 before the William Reid Stakes triumph, the horse’s first win since September of 2016.
Incredibly it wasn’t only Hellbent’s first Group 1 title, it was the stallion’s first ever Group race success.
Jockey Craig Williams jumped aboard the Weir galloper for just the second time having been the last jockey to ride him to victory in the aforementioned September 2016 win at Caulfield over Sheidel.
The duo combined again to make it a perfect two-from-two record together, Williams celebrating his first William Reid Stakes winning ride and handing Weir his second after that of Lucky Hussler in 2015.
The Lindsay Park-trained Snitzel four-year-old Thronum was quickest out of the gates in the final Ladbrokes Friday Night at The Valley meeting for the year hitting the front and leading the field around.
Williams meanwhile took his time and had Hellbent settled just worse than midfield off the pace.
Thronum ($8) held the lead into the straight and looked home before Hellbent ($10) burned home, charging up the outside to run him down for the half-length win.
“I had to trust him, I had to get out to that part of the track where I didn’t want to be and he had to be there for about a furlong and a half,” Williams said post-win.
“He was good and he was decisive.
“The stable were really confident, they just said he’s a lot more mature.
“He had the right form, we were just worried about the way the track was running and where he drew.
“But wow, he was very dominant tonight.
“Credit to Hellbent, he’s shown how much of a great sprinter he is when he can overcome difficulties like that.”
Rounding out the William Reid Stakes trifecta in an eye-catching third was the fellow Lindsay Park-trained Catchy, last year’s Blue Diamond winning filly a further length back from her pacesetting stablemate in her best run since last October.
There is now a chance Hellbent will head up to Sydney on April 7 for a shot at the Group 1 $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
Super mare Black Caviar (2013) was the last sprinter to do the William Reid Stakes – TJ Smith Stakes double and Hellbent is rated an $18 chance to win the latter in futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 William Reid Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Racecourse – 23/03/2018
|1||2||HELLBENT||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||–||10||58.5kg||$10|
|2||4||THRONUM||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||0.5L||3||58.5kg||$8|
|3||10||CATCHY||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||1.5L||4||54kg||$15|
|4||3||SUPIDO||Michael Kent||Beau Mertens||2.25L||6||58.5kg||$9|
|5||1||ROCK MAGIC||Chris Gangemi||Damian Lane||3.5L||5||58.5kg||$7|
|6||5||BONS AWAY||Aaron Purcell||Ms Linda Meech||4L||2||58.5kg||$17|
|7||8||PARIAH||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||4.3L||7||56kg||$6|
|8||9||SHE WILL REIGN||Gary Portelli||Ben Melham||6.55L||1||54kg||$7|
|9||6||SECRET AGENDA||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||6.85L||8||56.5kg||$5.50F|
|10||7||FUHRYK||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Stephen Baster||51.85L||9||56.5kg||$31|
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