The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Le Don De Vie atoned for his unplaced The Q22 run at Eagle Farm last start carrying a big weight very well on Heavy going at the Sunshine Coast to win the 2022 Caloundra Cup running away.
The now Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained six-year-old brought the best form line into this year’s Listed $300,000 Caloundra Cup (2400m) coming via a lead-up run in Brisbane’s lucrative Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m).
He got some 15 lengths back off the leader that day on a Good (4) surface and was never going to win, but was far from disgraced when 5.5 lengths back 11th to Numerian.
Jockey John Allen said the course did not suit his horse that day, and that proved true with a hugely improved effort from the galloper on a Heavy (10) track at Caloundra in the Cup.
“Good ride. To be honest, The Q22 was a complete disaster and probably got the wrong instructions,” co-trainer David Eustace told the media from Flemington post-victory on Saturday.
“He was held up, never got a run. I think he’d have run a big race that day.
“He showed some good form here and it was nice win.”
Ridden by Nash Rawiller, the race favourite Le Don De Vie settled second last in the run with Rawiller happy to bide his time as Spencer got out to a big lead.
With 1200m left to travel the eventual Caloundra Cup winner began to creep forward and make up ground out wide.
He was seven or eight wide coming around the turn, but was always travelling, and loomed up at the top of the straight before putting a gap on them over the final furlong.
Rawiller got to the right part of the track and really strung them out as Le Don De Vie ($4.40F) took the lead at the 250m and raced off for a comprehensive two and three-quarter length victory.
“It was just a matter of time, wasn’t it. He made a meal of a few sections of the track but I was able to keep him balanced and improve into it,” Rawiller said.
“He’s a horse that felt like he had a fair bit (on), with all due respect to the rest of the field.
“He’s obviously coming up here and peaking today like that and then having a good break, I’m sure there is something (for him) in the spring.
“For a horse like him it (the Heavy 10 track) wasn’t ideal at all but he just found a way to adapt and full credit to the team. They had him in beautiful order today.
“To me, from what I saw of him last time, he seemed more relaxed and seemed to enjoy the day today. That’s how he travelled and that’s what won him the race.”
The leader at the top of the straight, the Bjorn Baker-trained Arapaho ($7), held down second with Matthew Smith’s Makfi six-year-old Pappalino ($19) rounding out the Caloundra Cup trifecta in third on the back of a Brisbane Cup sixth over the two miles.
Having travelled like the winner the entire trip, Le Don De Vie had to make a long, sustained run out wide, but Rawiller was able to keep him under a hold before asking for the supreme effort late.
The horse covered the ground well keeping balanced on the rain-affected track, impressing the punters with the 58.5kg on his back.
The Listed $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) in New South Wales on July 14 serves as a potential next-up option for Le Don De Vie.
Supply And Demand (2017) was the last horse to complete the Caloundra Cup – Grafton Cup interstate winter double.
Looking further ahead to the spring, Eustace said the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day, October 1, was a potential target for Le Don De Vie.
“He’s a gelding racing in good form and we’ll chip away. He’ll probably go back to Sydney – he likes wet ground,” the trainer said.
“The Metropolitan is the race you’d think to target, but there’s probably going to be some younger, fresher legs there.”
2022 Caloundra Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||LE DON DE VIE (GB)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Nash Rawiller||11||58.5kg||$4.40F|
|2||10||ARAPAHO (FR)||Bjorn Baker||Mark Du Plessis||2.8L||2||54kg||$7|
|3||11||PAPPALINO (FR)||Matthew Smith||Jaden Lloyd (a)||4.6L||9||54kg||$19|
|4||9||ALAKAHAN (IRE)||Richard & Will Freedman||Larry Cassidy||7.1L||3||54kg||$9.50|
|5||4||LONDON BANKER (NZ)||Kelly Schweida||James Orman||10.9L||14||55.5kg||$6.50|
|6||12||STREET DANCER||David Vandyke||Jim Byrne||13.4L||10||54kg||$10|
|7||5||BARTHOLOMEU DIAS (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Brodie Loy||13.5L||5||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$10|
|8||7||SEAT OF POWER (IRE)||Gary Duncan||Ben Thompson||14.5L||6||54kg||$14|
|9||8||SWEET THOMAS (GER)||Matthew Smith||Kyle Wilson-Taylor (a)||15.8L||4||54kg||$8|
|10||15||DUNHILL (NZ)||Kelvin Tyler||Adin Thompson (a)||17.6L||12||54kg||$91|
|11||6||SWORDS DRAWN||Shaune Ritchie & Colm Murray||Ms Samantha Collett||18.4L||1||54kg||$26|
|12||13||SPENCER||David Vandyke||Ms Tiffani Brooker||20.7L||13||54kg||$31|
|13||16||I PONDER||John Symons & Sheila Laxon||Luke Tarrant||54L||8||54kg||$61|
|14||17||WINSTON BLUE||Neil Hocking||Corey Bayliss||78L||7||54kg||$201|
|1||SOUTHERN FRANCE (IRE)||Matthew Smith||Ryan Wiggins||0|
|3||BALLISTIC BOY||Chris Anderson||Ryan Maloney||0|
|14||OSTERMEIER||Alyssa & Troy Sweeney||Ms Georgina Cartwright||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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