What a start we had to this year’s UBET Festival of Racing! Saturday's Schweppes Oaks Day was one of the great days at Morphettville with a maiden Group 1 win and the emergence of Australia’s most exciting horses the two big stories of the day
5. A Fifth DC McKay Stakes Win for Dwayne Dunn
One of South Australia’s great racing exports Dwayne Dunn brought up a record fifth win in Saturday’s Group 3 DC McKay Stakes when the ultra-impressive Sprightly Lass put away a quality field in the fifth race of the day.
Dunn first won the race in 1998 on the Russell Cameron trained Toldeo and again in 2005, 2008 and 2015 on Thermal Current.
The four-year-old mare has now won $322k in prizemoney and is putting together an amazing record with six wins and two second from her eight career starts.
4. A Special Oaks Day win for Lindop
With Clare Lindop heading into her final UBET Festival of Racing it was fitting the champion jockey got a winner on a feature day before she hangs up the boots in the near future.
While the Macdonald & Gluyas trained Waging War was the $2 favourite in the race, it was the stablemate and Lindop’s mount Mail It In that proved too good for his opposition.
The Stuart Gower trained Silent Warrior had been well backed all morning and was given a nice front running ride from Jamie Kah but Mail It In popped off his back at the turn, hit the lead at the 250m and never looked back winning by 1.6 lengths.
Hopefully we see Lindop in the winner’s circle a few more times over the next couple weeks before she bids farewell to racing!
3. $151 Pop Claims the Group 2 Euclase Stakes
In one of the upsets of the year, the John McArdle trained I’ll Have a Bit caused a huge boil-over when the $151 chance defeated some of Australia’s most promising three-year-olds including Nature Strip and Viridine.
I’ll Have a Bit settled last from the jump and sat at the tail of the field for the majority of the race, while boom horse Nature Strip shot to the lead. Nature Strip looked strong at the turn as he put a length on his rivals but as he tired, the race looked to be between She’s So High and Viridine but from the clouds, I’ll Have a Bit produced a barnstorming run for Chris Parnham to swamp the field and win by a long neck.
This time last year the filly won the Group 3 National Stakes at Morphettville but there is no doubt everyone on track will remember this victory for years to come!
2. Shoals Claims her Third Group 1 and Opens up the World
Three time Group 1 winner Shoals cemented her position as one of the most exciting young horses in Australia with her stunning 1.7 length victory in the Group 1 UBET Classic.
With Mark Zahra unable to make the weight due to illness, Sydney based jockey Tim Clark secured one of the all-time great pick-up rides on the Anthony Freedman trained filly. Surprisingly the filly was on the sixth line of betting at $12 despite her impressive CV.
Shoals was given a beautiful ride from Clark as she peeled wide at the turn and let down with a huge run from the 300m and put pay to the field to record a comfortable win from last year’s winner Secret Agenda and locally trained Mica Lil.
After her win, Shoals looks like she has plenty of options heading forward with a trip to Royal Ascot on the cards and even the possibility of a slot in the $13 million Everest in October.
1. Harry Coffey Claims his First Group 1 Win on Sopressa
There’s no doubt the story of the day goes to Harry Coffey after his perfect ride on the Darren Weir trained Sopressa in the Group 1 Scheweppes Oaks, which gave the young 22 year-old hoop his first ever Group 1 victory!
After being installed as the equal favourite, Sopressa drifted from $5 to $6.50 but jumped beautifully from the inside draw and had the perfect sit in fourth on the rails. At the turn, Coffey brought the filly off the rails and started a perfectly timed run to hit the lead at the 100m and hold off the fast finishing Sheezdashing and Miss Admiration.
The win was made even more special that Coffey rode Sopressa for Darren Weir, who Coffey has known all his life. Weir gave Coffey his first winner, first senior winner, first Stakes winner and now his first Group 1 winner.