Veteran Adelaide gelding Alcopop broke his Group 1 drought in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington today in what was a tough staying test.
Last year’s winner Glass Harmonium overcame his well-documented barrier problems to assume the early lead, setting a hot pace and sitting six lengths clear of his rivals coming around the home turn.
Craig Williams was riding the Jake Stephens-trained Alcopop for the first time and he was happy to position him slightly worse than midfield.
As the chase began after Glass Harmonium in the straight, Glen Boss elected to go to the outside with Ocean Park allowing Williams to make his run down the inside.
With the hot tempo set throughout the early stages of the race, it became a genuine staying test and Alcopop showed his durability to overcome a gallant effort from Glass Harmonium while Ocean Park ended his brilliant spring campaign in third place.
Williams spoiled Alcopop’s party when running over the top of him aboard Dunaden in the Caulfield Cup but was thrilled to help him achieve his first Group 1 win today.
“Full credit to Jake Stephens and his whole team. He’s an eight-year-old, weight-for-age level. He was very stiff last time to run in an exceptional horse in Dunaden,” Williams said.
“With a couple of horses at this part of their preparation I thought we might be able to sprint them.
“That’s what’s great about Derby Day…rewarding a horse like Alcopop who has been in the wilderness for two years and just loves his racing.”
Stephens was obviously delighted with the result and was quick to praise the ride of Williams.
“It was a brilliant ride when he came up the inside,” Stephens said.
“When I saw Ocean Park go out wide I was just thinking go the inside, go the inside. Just an amazing run and to see the horse fight down the straight like that.
“He was freshened well and he’s been at his best all week.”