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It was a huge 2020 Winx Guineas result for local Sunshine Coast trainer Gary Duncan at Caloundra on Saturday with his well-backed favourite Wapiti taking out the Group 3, while stablemate Love Express snuck in for third.
Formerly the Sunshine Coast Guineas, the recently renamed Group 3 $125,000 Winx Guineas (1600m) saw nicely-bred Love Conquers All gelding Wapiti salute for the punters having been backed in late from $3 to $2.45 favouritism through Ladbrokes.com.au.
It was the fifth time on the trot the galloper started top of the odds and, ridden by Sean Cormack, he was able to atone for his last start second to Cellarmaid at Doomben over the 2030m a fortnight ago.
A wonderful training performance from Duncan saw the local horseman bring Wapiti home and drop him back down to a mile for the Winx Guineas, which proved a successful move as the horse was able to fight back late in a thrilling finish.
Best out the gates, Wapiti was up into second on the pace throughout as the roughie Two Smokin Barrels led the field around.
There was no pace in the race, which suited the favourite who went up on the outside on the turn going into the lead once on the straight with plenty of work to do to hold his position to the line.
Stablemate Love Express was flying down the outside along with Tony Gollan’s in-form Tavistock gelding from Brisbane, Knight Mariner, coming off back-to-back wins at Doomben and Ipswich respectively.
There was a line of three across, but all honours went to Wapiti who fought back, lifting to win the Guineas from Knight Mariner (2nd) who made up all the ground from the back and Love Express (3rd).
Wapiti rallied hard over the closing stages for a well-deserved win for the horse Duncan affectionately calls “Moose”.
“It was a good, tough win,” Duncan told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He’s had outside barriers, hard runs, he’s never run a bad race in his life. Today he’s come back from 2000m and that helped him at the end of the race.
“I knew he’d be a bit dour…and I thought Love Express had him for a while! He’s not a bad little horse either.
“I’ve always liked the horse. He’s locally-bred on the Coast here.
“I’ve always called him Moose, he’s got a head like a moose!”
2020 Winx Guineas Results
|1||3||WAPITI||Gary Duncan||Sean Cormack||7||57kg||$2.45F|
|2||7||KNIGHT MARINER (NZ)||Tony Gollan||Baylee Nothdurft (a)||0.5L||9||57kg||$5.50|
|3||5||LOVE EXPRESS||Gary Duncan||Taylor Marshall||0.6L||1||57kg||$13|
|4||1||STAR OF MICHELIN||Stuart Kendrick||Dale Smith||1.85L||3||57kg||$4.40|
|5||10||TWO SMOKIN BARRELS||Ben Ahrens||Ryan Wiggins||2.85L||2||57kg||$101|
|6||13||AL JOOD||Chris Munce||Larry Cassidy||2.95L||8||55kg||$8|
|7||2||SMART METEOR||Chris Munce||Mark Du Plessis||3.7L||6||57kg||$17|
|8||9||VENDIDIT||Bryan & Daniel Guy||Jim Byrne||6.2L||5||57kg||$19|
|9||6||SAMURAI||Noel Doyle||Micheal Hellyer||8.7L||4||57kg||$26|
|12||MAOZI||Toby & Trent Edmonds||Robbie Fradd||0|
|14||MISS MARGS||Matt Boland||Ms Stephanie Thornton||0|
|8||BUZZER BEATER||Matt Boland||Jake Bayliss||0|
|4||NAVAL STRIKE||Kevin Kemp||Brad Stewart||0|
|11||STARLA||Chris Waller||Michael Cahill||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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