The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Grahame Begg‘s ultra-consistent mare Passive Aggressive narrowly denied veteran sprinter Eduardo a third consecutive win in the Challenge Stakes 2023 results when taking out the Group 2 event at Randwick by the barest of margins.
Having chased the well-backed favourite and dual defending champion throughout, the four-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock got her nose down right on the line in a thrilling photo-finish to claim the Group 2 $500,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on Randwick Guineas Day.
Joe Pride‘s returning short-distance specialist Eduardo was speedy out the gates and got out to a great lead looking to become history’s third three-time Challenge Stakes winner.
He led them around the turn and into the straight being cuddled by Nash Rawiller who was looking to go all-the-way on the $7.8 million earner first-up.
Jockey Jordan Childs however loomed up on the challenger Passive Aggressive taking the mare, who was racing for the first time since August last year, out deeper on the track.
She lunged right on the line with the photo going in her favour out wide.
“I thought she won on the line, but I know coming to Randwick, rail out 6m, outside horses normally get the bob in. Great effort because she hasn’t run for six months. She’s a bloody good filly,” winning trainer Begg told the media post-win.
“That was the only reservation, Group 2 weight for age, but she loves having a bit of bite in the ground.
“That was the idea why we missed the Melbourne autumn to come up here and get that softer ground. Great ride.
“She’s a very understated mare. It’s only her sixth start in a race to go to a Group 2 weight for age against very good accomplished horses. Great effort.”
In third completing the Challenge Stakes trifecta was Giga Kick in a solid autumn return from Clayton Douglas‘s reigning young The Everest hero from the spring.
The Group 1 $3 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 1 is the likely major aim for the horses out of the Challenge Stakes.
“There’s a couple of races,” Begg said.
“There’s obviously the (Group 1 The) Galaxy, hopefully the T J Smith maybe in a month’s time so we’ll work it out from here, but we’ll look after the horse and get her home and let the dust settle and make a plan.”
Giga Kick sits top of all-in TJ Smith Stakes 2023 betting at $6, while the Challenge Stakes winner Passive Aggressive is at $13 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Nature Strip (2020) was the last horse to complete the Challenge Stakes – TJ Smith Stakes double.
Click here for the latest pre-field TJ Smith Stakes odds online.
2023 Challenge Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||7||PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE||Grahame Begg||Jordan Childs||9||56.5kg||$7.50|
|2||1||EDUARDO||Joseph Pride||Nash Rawiller||0.01L||8||58.5kg||$3.30F|
|3||8||GIGA KICK||Clayton Douglas||Craig Williams||1.16L||4||56kg||$4.60|
|4||3||REMARQUE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Brenton Avdulla||1.58L||6||58.5kg||$4|
|5||5||THE BOPPER||Kris Lees||Zac Purton||2.56L||1||58.5kg||$19|
|6||6||KEY LARGO||Bryce Heys||Tyler Schiller (a)||2.79L||2||58.5kg||$51|
|7||9||SACRED SATONO (NZ)||Bruce Wallace & Grant Cooksley||Chad Schofield||4.09L||3||56kg||$61|
|8||2||PAULELE||James Cummings||James McDonald||4.6L||5||58.5kg||$5.50|
|9||4||SHELBY SIXTYSIX||Danny Williams||Robbie Dolan||5.67L||7||58.5kg||$71|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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