by Ross Stanley
Last Saturday’s Gayndah victory by Navillus Rexted, with Hannah Phillips as the pilot, was a timely lead up to this weekend’s Eye Liner Stakes.
Back in 2002, the Lion Heart (USA) gelding’s trainer Peter Blackwell had a bittersweet experience during Ipswich’s signature meeting.
Machtig Mihi Panis, the grand sprinter he had developed for Dr Patrick Lip, was beaten a neck by Pittance when runner-up in the feature sprint.
The Siscay gelding had just taken his record to 61:12-12-7 with around $320,000 in earnings when it was noticed that he had bled on a second occasion.
The ensuing mandatory life ban was devastating news.
The chestnut had thrived during that year.
He won Eagle Farm’s Bribie Handicap (Listed), picked up two successes and a second in open sprints and was not disgraced when a handy sixth in the Weetwood at Toowoomba.
His stout effort to defeat all bar the placegetters in the Wyndham Estate Cup (now Gr 1) was followed by a wonderful performance in the Doomben 10,000, where the $16 chance ran seventh, just over three lengths from the winner Falvelon.
Before his fateful engagement at Bundamba, the highly popular Hivesville galloper maintained his form with a fine third in the QTC Cup (Gr 2) and a fighting fourth in the Healy Stakes (Gr 3).
Meanwhile, Navillus Rexted, having his fifth outing since joining Blackwell’s racing set-up, has an interesting pedigree.
Lion Heart, a son of Tale Of The Cat, won three American Group One events up to nine furlongs. The best of his progeny is Dangerous Midge, the 2010 Breeder’s Cup Turf (12f) hero.
Navillus Rexted’s maternal line traces back to the talented Tidal Light.
The filly’s six black type credits were headed by the 1986 New Zealand Derby, the 1987 Air New Zealand Stakes and the 1987 STC Canterbury Guineas.
Although Brisbane’s portion of the winter festival concludes with the Tattersall’s Tiara program on June 24, it really peaked last weekend with the Stradbroke renewal at Doomben.
The predictions of a wet day failed to materialise, the grandstand was almost full for the running of the State’s richest race and there were vibrant vibes around proceedings.
Let’s just say it was heartening to see a positive chapter unfold.
And for those involved in the mammoth preparations, the outcome would have been a relief.
Many of the nation’s leading trainers were represented.
Although five winners were well backed commodities, two of the Group One events went to the outsiders Capital Gain (J.J. Atkins Stakes, $19) and Impending (Stradbroke, $20).
However, generally speaking, the results were far more predictable than at the nightmare Eagle Farm meeting on the last Saturday in May.
There will be no time nor purpose for sipping champagne in the months ahead.
The Eagle Farm track review is in progress, a new schedule is under construction to cover the lengthy absence of the State’s major racecourse and inevitably there will be continued pressure on the Doomben circuit.
Hopefully non-TAB racing won’t eventually be a casualty in the presumably volatile financial stress that lays ahead.