Hugh Bowman said it best when he commented that the field was caught napping in the $500,000, Group 1 WFA Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday, indeed, while they were napping Samadoubt and Tim Clark were out in front and not for catching.
Clark took the Bjorn Baker trained six-year-old Not A Single Doubt gelding, previously the winner of the listed Canberra Cup over 2000m at Canberra in March and racing in his first Group 1 race ever, to the lead from barrier four and the rest left them out in front.
It was a crucial mistake with Clark at his best rating a leading tempo. Across the High Street the margin was 1L and then Clark increased the tempo turning for home and suddenly they had 2L and the field was in trouble.
The $2.60 favourite Avilius was second last and 7L behind the leader at the 400m. With Samadoubt running 33.71 for the 600m Avilius was left with mission impossible, as the rest were as well.
Samadoubt and Tim Clark with Happy Clapper and Hugh Bowman outside, picture Stevehart.com.au
The noise from the Samadoubt ownership group increased as it was apparent that their runner was not going to be caught and the group continued their delight past the line and as Clark brought Samadoubt back to the winners stall.
At the line Samadoubt still had a 1/2L margin with Happy Clapper (Teofilo) and Bowman second and then a neck to Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible) and Rachel King. Avilius was a nose back in fourth.
The time was 1.21.05 on the Good 4 track. Samadoubt rocked punters paying $34.00 on fixed odds and $40.70 on the tote.
“Well he won our great nation’s capital race the Canberra Cup. From Winx to Samadoubt hasn’t it got a good ring to it,” said Baker.
“I needed the breather before he let go too. Look he has been a good horse. He ran in the Breeders’ Plate as a 2yo. We left that day disappointed. He has been a great ride with the owners up and down. We have done plenty of work with him. I’ve got a great team. Jason my foreman and a few South Africans have been galloping him.”
“It is hard to get too confident. I thought when Dreamforce accepted for the other race we might have been a chance. As it was it worked out pretty well. I have got a good relationship with Tim. He knows him pretty well. He won an 1100m first up last preparation with blinkers on. He’s a quick horse for a good bunch of owners.
“I have had a great run for Darby syndicators. They have been great supporters of mine.
“I have won two (Music Magnate 10,000/Samadoubt) but also one in partnership with Murray that I’ve got to claim. I do most of the work with those ones,” he said of working with his New Zealand champion trainer father Murray.
“It is great for Darby Racing. They put a lot of owners into racing and we’ve had great success over a long period of time," said Clark.
“Bjorn nommed him for a couple of races and we just thought this one, whether he won or not it would be an easier race for him because it looked like they’d go slow. We thought if I could pinch a few easy sectionals down the side, then when we were at the 600m I thought there is a few old stayers behind me so we would see how much speed they had in their legs.
“He gave a great kick and it is very exciting to win the first Group 1 of the season. It is been a great start to the season and to get a Group 1 so early on is really awesome.
“Definitely he was an underdog. In two or three runs time over a little bit further these other horses are probably going to get the better of him but at this point of his preparation, 1400m fresh, it just looked like an ideal race to have a throw at the stumps.
“Bjorn ‘s horses are racing great and glad to be able to get a Group 1 winner for him and a great bunch of owners,” he said.
Samadoubt, out of the Gold Fever mare Gold Fever, has now won nine of his 35 starts and with a further nine placings earned stakes of $795,760 for Mr S G Darby, Mr N Allardice, Mr S R Anning, Mr M Ately, Mr P W Bonusiak, Mr J G Boulous, Mr M R Chisholm, Mr M Condron, Mr R G Ford, Mr G J Gardiner, Mr W J Galea, Mr P R Lewis, Mr R J Miller, Mrs A Neale, Mr S W Neale, Mr G S Taylor, Chisholm Condron Racing, Mr J R Troiano and Cobia Racing.
Samadoubt, picture Sportpix.com.au
What the beaten jockeys said:
Kerrin McEvoy (Avilius): “Great return, he is finished off very well.”
Hugh Bowman (Happy Clapper): “Courageous horse, he gave me everything, the winner just caught us all napping a bit.”
Glen Boss (Le Romain): “He is just struggling at the moment, Kris [Lees] has just go to try something different with him, try and rejuvenate him.”
Nash Rawiller (Best Of Days): “Bit happened early so it took me a while to get into my spot, he travelled nice from there, going forward I’m sure he’s got a fair bit of improvement.
Jason Collett (Kings Will Dream): “Good return, got chewed out at a pretty vital stage, but he came again late. He’s come back well.”
Rachel King (Invincible Gem): “Huge run, she is not far away from getting a Group 1.”
Brenton Avdulla (Unforgotten): “I was happy enough with her, she had a little bit more room late, I think she finishes a bit closer. It’s a nice kick-off point for her going to a mile.”
Tommy Berry (Youngstar): “She went a lot better than what she looked, her last 600m was great, I imagine her sectionals were very nice.”
James McDonald (Verry Elleegant): “She has returned ok. She’s just a bit more dour and I had a few concerns about that regarding today’s race. Her work suggested she wants a mile, mile and a half. They are just a bit sharp for her now, I think even at a mile they might be a bit quick for her, especially against these tough older horses. She will improve off it and don’t give up on her.”
Winx Stakes, photo finish picture ATC