Grey Lion (IRE) has been around a few racecourses, among the best in the world, but the Sydney lifestyle he obviously enjoys with two black type wins in succession after taking the Rosehill feature, the $150,000, listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
Earlier in his career the seven-year-old Galileo gelding raced at Chantilly, Saint Cloud and Deauville which was the scene of his last win in March 2016 before heading down under and a 14th in the 2016 Group 1 Melbourne Cup over 3200m at Flemington. He raced at Caulfield, Moonee Valley, Pakenham, Geelong, Cranbourne, Morphettville and even Warrnambool. There were placings but no wins.
Now trained by Matthew Smith at Warwick Farm he first raced in Sydney at Randwick last July for a win over 2400m, the first win since that Deauville success.
A spell followed and he was produced from the Group 2 Doncaster Mile Prelude over 1500m in March and he was sixth. Next was the Group 3 JRA Plate over 2000m at Randwick on April 20th and carrying 53kg under Kathy O’Hara he won again.
On Saturday he was up to 56.5kg under O’Hara and in a long sustained run from the top of the straight Grey Lion held off Girl Tuesday with 53k under Grant Buckley for the entire straight to claim the win by a nose.
Grey Lion (IRE) and Kathy O'Hara with Girl Tuesday and Grant Buckley outside, picture Sportpix.com.au
Girl Tuesday (Street Cry) was brave against the experienced campaigner inside her with Live And Free (NZ) (Savabeel) (53kg) and Rachel King third, the margin a long head. Black And Gold was fourth.
The time was 2.03.52 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in a good time of 34.98. Grey Lion paid $3.70 on fixed odds and $3.60 on the tote.
“He was really gritty today. The speed was really quick early and then they backed off mid-stages and he got off the bridle a little. I ended up popping out three deep with some cover and I let him roll forward a little bit,” said O’Hara.
“He was too tough for the other horses and he won on his merits and I do not think you can say anything was unlucky not to beat him.
“Matt has totally rejuvenated this horse and he is bouncing around like a three-year-old. He is such a gem to ride and he gives you everything he has got,” she said.
With Smith in Brisbane on Saturday the plans for Grey Lion are not definite, but he too might head north for another course to add to his career, the $400,000, Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8th.
Grey Lion, out of the Danehill mare Grey Lilas, was winning for the seventh time overall and with eight placings he has earned stakes of $583,832 for the ownership group of O T I Racing, Gisburn Trading, Mr P R McGrath, Three Hand Racing, Mr B Danaher, Mr P J Bartholomew, Mr D Miller, Mrs D Miller, Mr L Webb, Ms D McKeown, Ms M Webb, Mr R Hanmer, Mr W R Bowker, Mr J C Higgins, Mr J P Spence, Uthmeyer Racing, Extreme Lion, Dr E K Attebo and Mr A K Cree.
Grey Lion, picture Sportpix.com.au
Lord Mayors Cup, photo finish picture ATC