The 2021 Carlton Wyong Gold Cup Day may have been devoid of crowds for the first time in history but there was no shortage of action of the track with John O’Shea claiming his first Wyong Cup and James McDonald bagging four winners.
Imposing grey Berdibek put in a supreme staying display to sprint away in the final stages and claim victory in the Cup, courtesy of a super Hugh Bowman ride.
The unstoppable James McDonald brought up winner number four on John Thompson’s More Prophets in the Wyong Leagues Group Mona Lisa.
Kristen Buchanan carried the flag for the locals with Fumiko and Eyewitness both greeting the judge, while Kim Waugh was also in the winner’s circle with Different Strokes.
New dad Jason Collett bagged a double, rounding off a fantastic day!
Race 1 – PRIORITY BUSINESS LAWYERS 4YO & UP MAIDEN (1350m):
A super start to the day for the Kim Waugh stable, with Different Strokes an impressive winner.
Waugh believes the Hinchinbrook gelding is headed for bigger things after bringing up his debut win at start three.
“He’s a lovely horse and is still learning,” she said.
“He’s a very casual, laid-back horse, who hasn’t had a lot of luck in his last two races.
“I’ve got a good opinion of him. He’s had a lot of issues, eye operations all sorts of things that have held him back.
“We’ve waited a long time to get to this stage and will keep him going now.”
James McDonald, who partnered the $40,000 yearling, agreed with Waugh.
“He’s very progressive. He’s still a raw talent but once the penny drops, he will develop into a really nice horse.”
Different Strokes looked to be a class ahead of his rivals and was sent out $1.40 favourite. He beat the Gary Moore trained Stay Wealthy ($10) who boxed on in the straight, by more than a length, with Coppersonic ($11) from the Attard yard, third.
Race 2 – WINNING COMMERCIAL MAIDEN (1200m):
A great training effort by the Waterhouse/Bott stable with five-year-old Invincible Vision winning on debut.
The I Am Invincible gelding, a $1.05m Inglis yearling, was having his first start after an original trial three years ago.
Ongoing issues prevented him from racing in the subsequent two years and he went into the race with two Randwick trial wins indicating he would race well.
Tim Clark gave Invincible Vision the perfect Wyong ride, leading from start to finish and considers the gelding has plenty of improvement to come.
Neil Paine, representing the stable, said the horse had been “a work in progress.”
“It was great to get the win today and a credit to the staff who put a lot of work into this horse over the years.
“We were fairly confident coming here today. We knew the horse had ability and he handled everything really well. He’s a really nice horse going forward.”
Invincible Vision was sent out $3.20 in a strong maiden field, beating the Freedman Brothers trained Amathuba ($7.50) by more than a length, with John O’Shea’s $3 favourite Ruinart, storming down the outside to finish third.
Race 3 – CENTRAL COAST COOLROOMS DA VINCI – 3YO & 4YO BM64 (1300m):
Gary Portelli was full of praise for James McDonald, who brought up a double on his Maurice colt Akihiro.
McDonald had to revert to plan B after the three-year-old was slow to begin. He came from the rear before the turn, circling the field and drawing away to win by half a length.
“This bloke’s a top rider for a reason and he showed it out there,” Portelli said.
“He was going to go forward but the horse wasn’t there for him, so he switched tactics.
“When he realised he had to get going he put the foot down and I don’t know if there are too many jockeys who would have had the courage to do that.
“He’s a nice, neat little horse and we might be able to sneak him into a nice race over the carnival.”
Akihiro ($6.50), an $80,000 Magic Millions yearling, brought up his second win at start seven.
He beat Peregrination ($8) from the Richard Litt yard, with country galloper Previso ($12), trained at Guyra by Ian Cook, running a nice race to finish third.
Race 4 – BISHOP COLLINS BM64 (1600m):
Jason Collett wasted no time getting back into the winner’s circle following the birth of his first child, booting home Ita for Bjorn Baker.
The new dad has been sidelined for a week after his partner Clare Cunningham gave birth to a daughter Scarlett.
Collett gave the All Too Hard mare a great ride, settling her back toward the rear of the field.
He took off before the turn, circling the field and hitting the front on straightening, before drawing away in the final stages to win by two lengths.
“There’s a bit of class about her,” Collett said. “She’s progressive and doing really well and I think she can make the step up to city grade after today.”
Baker agreed with Collett, describing the four-year-old as “really professional.”
“She is a good, honest mare and has come back much better. It’s amazing what time can do. I think she’s city grade for sure.”
It was the third win from nine starts for Ita ($4.80), who was coming off a Bathurst victory on August 23.
She beat the O’Shea trained Socrates ($5), with Jason Coyle’s Chateaux Park ($4.40), third.
Race 5 – HUNTER PETROLEUM PRODUCTS CLASS 1 (1100m):
The in-form Kristen Buchanan stable struck again with her Flying Artie filly Fumiko an impressive winner.
Resuming from a spell, the three-year-old was given a super ride by James McDonald, who brought up a winning treble.
“I’m really pleased with her,” Buchanan said.
“She’s a lovely filly, lightly framed with a bit of physical growing to do, but mentally she’s a beautiful horse to take to the races who puts her best foot forward.
“She’s in for a good preparation and will get to a decent trip as we get along.
“I gave James an open book today as to where he had her in the run and it was perfect.”
McDonald also spoke highly of the filly.
“She’s a lovely filly, very speedy with great enthusiasm. She’s very well handled and educated here to win today and did a great job.”
Fumiko was sent out $3.70 favourite and beat Deepour ($7) from the Freedman Brothers stable, with Matthew Smith’s Agrum ($7.50) third.
Race 6 – WYONG LEAGUES GROUP MONA LISA STAKES (1350m):
Another perfect James McDonald ride secured victory for the John Thompson trained More Prophets, earning the mare her first black type race.
McDonald again bucked the trend of the day by coming from the rear, making significant ground around the turn and running down the leaders to win by a long neck.
The Smart Missile mare, sent out at $5.50 second favourite, let down beautifully on the line, to bring up back-to-back wins.
She is now likely to contest the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle on September 17.
Danielle Podlowski, representing Thompson, described it as a “terrific win.”
“She went super today and needed every inch of that track to get there.
“It was a great ride by James. He put her in a good spot. There is always plenty of confidence when he’s on board.
“She’s been a bit frustrating, but John’s always had faith in her and it’s lovely to see her get the wins.”
McDonald was full of praise for More Prophets.
“I love how she chimed in and hit the line well,” he said.
“I thought the only thing that could of beat her today was the Wyong circuit because of her racing style.
“She felt much more relaxed today and the way she executed the 1350m was much, much better.
“She’ll head to the Tibbie now and be a good ride for someone.”
Bring The Ransom ($18) ran a nice race to finish second, with the Kim Waugh’s luckless Great News ($2fav), boxing on for third after being caught wide throughout.
Race 7 – 2021 CARLTON WYONG GOLD CUP (2100m):
A hot tempo played into the hands of the John O’Shea trained Berdibek, paving the way for the trainer to claim his first Wyong Gold Cup.
Hugh Bowman partnered the eight-year-old gelding to victory, his fourth Cup win.
With a strong early tempo, Bowman was content to sit back off the pace before looping the field on the turn.
The eight-year-old Dark Angel gelding raced away in the final stages of the straight to win by almost two lengths.
“I knew we had him in great form but obviously he needed a bit of luck,” O’Shea said.
“Hugh put him to sleep down the side and when he relaxes, he’s got a wonderful ton of speed.
“It was probably one of his best efforts today.
“Wyong winners have got a good record in the Newcastle Cup so we will likely head up there.”
O’Shea paid tribute to injured jockey Brenton Avdulla, a regular rider of Berdibek.
Bowman said it was a nostalgic win for him, having claimed his first black type race on Pecan Pie in the 2000 Wyong Cup.
“It was great to win for John O’Shea and the team. The horse had great credentials coming into this race,” he said.
“He always carries a lot of weight and I thought he was well in it today with the 56.5.
“He was well prepared, and everything fell into place. I was able to get a trouble-free run and once I decided to inject myself into the race he delivered in spades and gobbled them up in a twinkling of the eye.”
Berdibek ($5.50) beat the Waller pair Criminal Code ($5.50), and Mubariz ($5.50).
Race 8 – THE DOYLO SPRINGTIME CONDITIONAL BM68 (1100m):
Kristen Buchan completed a super Wyong Cup Day, with speedy mare Eyewitness bringing up her third win.
Jason Collett partnered the Star Witness four-year-old, bringing up a double.
“She’s a little flying machine,” Buchanan said.
“I had other options in mind because this race was quite strong, but I really wanted to keep Jason on.
“He’s got a handle on her, and he rode her a treat. It’s a very pleasing result and the owners will be over the moon.
“I think there is plenty of ability there, but I’ll take her along steady through the grades and let her learn the ropes.”
Eyewitness ($6) has now had three wins from six starts.
Neretva ($15) from the Grant Allard stable was second, with Jenny Graham’s The Drake ($4.20) third.