Redkirk Warrior overcame a 100-year first-up hoodoo to record an historic victory in the 2017 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington this afternoon.
Redkirk Warrior had not been seen at the races since he won the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) at Ladbrokes Park on November 12 and he was an ignored horse heading into the Newmarket Handicap, but he cruised into the race.
Regan Bayliss asked Redkirk Warrior for an extra effort at the 400 metre mark and he quickly raced away from his rivals to record a simply outstanding victory in the Newmarket Handicap.
The Newmarket Handicap win of Redkirk Warrior delivered Bayliss a maiden victory at Group 1 level and the star hoop was clearly emotional to have broken through for a first win at the highest level of racing.
“Ever since I was a little boy all I have wanted to do is be a jockey,” Bayliss said.
“To be here on Super Saturday, I am numb.
“He is a terrific horse.
“I wouldn’t be here without Lindsay Park, they have done so much for me and I just can’t believe it really.
“He is a good horse and he proved it today.
“I was very confident because David gave me confidence about how well the horse was going.
“Everyone thought that he was going to be better over a little bit further, but the world is his oyster.”
Punters were surprised that Redkirk Warrior was able to take out the Newmarket Handicap, but that wasn’t the case with David Hayes.
Hayes revealed after the race that he has been of the opinion for some time that Redkirk Warrior was the best horse in his stable and he believes that the injury-plauged galloper is also capable of winning the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
“It was fantastic,” Hayes said.
“We have been telling everyone that he is the best horse in the stable and he just hasn’t had the chance to show everyone yet.
“He put his hoof up today.
“He is a superstar and we are coming to Sydney.
“It is fantastic for Regan to have his first Group 1 victory and a real thrill for the whole stable.
“We have set him for the Newmarket/Doncaster, which is an optimistic target.
“I wouldn’t swap him for many in the Doncaster.”
Voodoo Lad made an excellent return to racing to finish second, while lost no admirers with another third place finish at Group 1 level.