Counterattack will head to the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap as a leading contender after he recorded a strong win in the Fred Best Classic at Doomben this afternoon.
Counterattack was drawn in the outside barrier and jockey James McDonald could not get him closer to the fence then three wide, but he still responded well when he was asked for an effort and he was too good for his rivals in the final stages of the race.
McDonald admitted after the race that it wasn’t the best ride of his career, but he said that he was always happy with the rhythm that he had Counterattack in and he was pleased with the way that he responded when he was asked for an extra effort.
“He feels a very good horse and it is great to ride a winner for Mr. Grimmish in these famous colours,” McDonald said.
“He is a horse that is going places and he will be a good chance in the Stradbroke with his light weight.
“He is tough, he runs it out strongly and he is trained to the minute.
“He travelled well, he came off the bridle at the furlong and I knew that it would take a good horse to run him down and I think that he is.”
Counterattack has always been a horse that trainer Chris Waller believes is good enough to win at the highest level of racing, but he has slightly disappointed his trainer and punters at times.
He started his 2016 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a promising third place finish in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 6 and he was set to go into the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) fresh, but he was scratched from the race after dumping Glen Boss just minutes before the jump.
Counterattack returned to Sydney racing with a disappointing fifth place finish behind Southern Legend in the Listed Darby Munro (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 19, but he returned to his best form with a very close second behind stablemate Japonisme in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 9.
Takedown was forced to do plenty of work in the early stages of the Fred Best Classic, but he was still able to tough it out on the speed and finish in second, while Perfect Dare produced a career best performance to finish in third.