Flying Agent prevails in the Brierly Steeplechase

Flying Agent has landed a betting plunge on the opening day of the Warrnambool Three-Day Carnival with an emphatic victory in the Brierly Steeplechase. As much as $8 was bet in early markets on Tuesday’s race, which eventually saw Flying Agent run the $1.80 favourite. 

There was one sticky moment mid-race when Flying Agent was pushed to the inside of the track with a fence approaching, but jockey Darryl Horner Jr took his medicine, slotted in behind the field and negotiated the fence safely. 

Joining the leaders before the final fence, Flying Agent raced to a 2-¼ length win from Bit Of A Lad ($4.80), with Lucques ($31) a further 5-½ lengths off in third. 

Trainer Amy Mcdonald said a long-term plan had paid off with Tuesday’s victory. 

“He’s amazing,” McDonald said. “I can’t thank the owners enough for showing me the faith and sending him over. It’s amazing.” 

The missing ingredient in Tuesday’s victory was McDonald’s partner Lee Horner, on the sidelines through injury, and it was Horner’s brother Darryl Jr that stepped up to fill the void. 

Horner said his brother and Amy did not put any undue pressure on him prior to the race, saying they had all the pressure saddling a $1.80 favourite. 

“I wanted to be box seat, three-back the fence, but I didn’t really follow the horse I wanted to in the race,” Horner Jr said. 

“But he’s the sort of horse that even when he gets in close to a jump, he still comes away from the other side of it running. His jumping is remarkable. All Lee does is brag about it and brag about it, but until you ride him you don’t appreciate it. 

“The pressure was on three [furlongs] from home. I didn’t panic, and that was one thing Lee has drilled into me — not to panic. I just let it all unfold and he was simply too good.”