Michael Moroney-trained Chapada (by Bullet Train (GB)) finally delivered on his undoubted staying potential when running out an impressive winner of the $108,000 VRC Grinders Coffee Carriage Paddock Plate (2520m) on the Flemington program in Melbourne.
A Group 1 VRC Victoria Derby placed spring 3-year-old, Chapada has spent the ensuing period promising to deliver on his genuine mile-and-a-half ability without ever really living up to his potential.
In today's stop-start contest around the same course and distance of his notable Classic performance however, the 4-year-old paternal grandson of Sadler's Wells put everything together to run out a clear-cut winner of an event with more than its usual share of staying talent for this time of the Victorian racing season.
Opposed by a healthy selection of runners sporting (Ire), (Fr), (GB) and (NZ) suffix, Chapada proved much too strong for his rivals in the lengthy Flemington straight, surging to the lead with 250m to negotiate and staying on strongly to the finishing line.
Chapada proceeded to record only the second win of his 19 start career, having broken through for his maiden success in October 2018 — a month before his third placing behind Extra Brut in the VRC Derby.
Chapada outpointed the Irish import Masaff (by Raven's Pass) in second and NZ-bred Sin To Win (by Sir Percy) in third, scoring by a length by a length and three-quarters.
Speaking after the win, trainer Michael Moroney's stable representative Jack Turnbull seemed a relieved man after seeing Chapada run right up to his 3-year-old promise.
“It was great,” declared Turnbull. “Just good to see the horse put them away and win another one. He was the highest stake earning horse [in the race] and hopefully we can build off this.”
Chapada and Daniel Stackhouse, picture Racing Photos
Turnbull went on to explain that Chapada had proven to be consistent, but obviously had not won the number of races his ability probably deserved. He was quick to add that it's now onward and upward for the son of Bullet Train.
“He hasn’t been far away. He’s just been a length or two behind in some good quality races.
“Not sure [what's next] to be honest. We’ll just try and find these types of races to get him back in the winner’s circle because he’s been so far from it.
“He’s earned half a million dollars in prizemoney and [is] a good little horse to have. I was talking to Mike this morning. If we can just work through his graded races now and he’s caught up physically to the handicap he was given as a younger three-year-old, then we can have some fun with him.”
Chapada was ridden with aplomb by Daniel Stackhouse who seemed well aware of Chapada's trials and tribulations since last season's VRC Derby.
“He deserved that for sure,” claimed Stackhouse. “It’s been a while for the owners between drinks. He did a great job.
“I spoke to Mike after he ran third here at Flemington and we thought we’d target this race. Mike said he’d put a bit of work into him and it was a great training performance. Great for him to be back in the winner’s stall.
“The race was going a bit strangely in certain places, but he was so strong to the line.
“He showed his class on what he’s done today and he’s been placed in Group races other than his Wangaratta win.
“He deserved that today. Very strong and dominant the way he did it.”
Chapada is raced by Ballymore Stables (Aust) Pty Ltd (Mgr: M D Moroney), Gee Gee Equine Ltd (Mgr: G Peterson), Dr E K Wood, G Devonport, A Sharp, G Sharp, P Moroney, R & C Legh Racing Pty Ltd (Mgr: R P Legh), Gurners Bloodstock (Mgr: M Ramsden), Ms S Nuttall, G Van Ameyden & Miss K S Glindemann.
In addition to his two victories, Chapada has also finished runner-up on one occasion and third no fewer than five times. His minor placings also include third in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas as an autumn 3-year-old. His earnings now amount to $483,850.
Chapada started as a $5.00 chance, runner-up Masaff as the $3.00 favourite, and third placegetter Sin To Win at $4.60.
Winning time of the race was 2m39.92s (last 600m: 36.27s).