An upset win over the weekend in the Caloundra Cup has the Brisbane-based Tony Gollan looking at a trip south for the Grafton Cup with the injury-prone Amexed this winter racing season.
Gollan was overseas in Bali holidaying with his wife when the stable’s Pentire five-year-old Amexed lined-up in the $175,000 Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Amexed broke a lengthy year-long winning drought on June 18 taking out a 2150m Benchmark 80 on Ipswich Cup Day narrowly, and made it back-to-back Queensland victories in the Caloundra Cup.
Gollan streamed the race poolside in Bali and was thrilled with the result, plus the fact he’d backed his horse at a roughie’s price.
“I streamed the race to my phone and people at the Beach Club were looking at me very strangely when I started cheering like a madman,” Gollan told The Sunday Mail.
“To be honest, I thought he would win if he ran at his best and I wasn’t worried about anything else in the race.
“He has had a stack of little things go wrong with him over the last couple of years but I always knew he had the ability. The mojitos are tasting even better now.”
Former South African hoop Robbie Fradd enjoyed a stellar ride aboard the gelding, who jumped at $19 in betting, with Amexed doing everything right to post a one and a quarter-length victory over the Michael Nolan-trained Jumbo Prince.
“It means a lot to win this race because I come up here a lot and I love this track and Caloundra itself,” Fradd said.
“I had a good run on him. I got him one off the fence and when they eased it up just a touch I was quite happy with where I was.
“Then I got on to the back of a couple of horses and went forward and followed them around, peeled him out and he hit the line well.”
Runner-up Jumbo Prince was having his maiden look at the distance and came off a second to David Vandyke’s Sunshine Coast-trained Maurus in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m), Nolan pleased with the performance from his Outback Prince stallion.
“I am still happy to run second and I thought he did a very good job,” Nolan said after confirming he thought Maurus would be first past the post again.
Maurus was odds-on favourite to score victory again heading to his home track, but he failed to fire and disappointed both his trainer and jockey Damian Browne with a flat fifth in the Caloundra Cup.
“He proved a little bit disappointing,” Browne told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
“We tracked the second horse into the race but he didn’t have the same turn of foot as he did at Ipswich.”
After watching replays of the race, former Sydney-based horseman Vandyke admitted the run by Maurus was second-rate.
“I thought he was very disappointing,” he said.
“It is interesting that he has now had two goes at 2400m and has gone no good on both occasions. But there is no excuses there from me.”
Gollan meanwhile plans to head south on Thursday July 14 with Amexed who will be looking to continue his return to form in the $160,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m).
“I always thought he was a good horse, from the time he won the Rough Habit as a three-year-old and then ran well in the Derby,” Gollan said.
“But we have had a stack of problems with him over the last two years.
“They were the little one percenters. For instance, he would get a virus and then come back from that and then hit himself with a hock.
“I was always trying to get him right and it was a bit frustrating at times. He just couldn’t catch a break but I am so pleased that everything has started to go right for him.”