Talented sprinter Richie’s Vibe swooped from the back of the field to upset well-backed favourite Moment Of Change in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley tonight.
Moment Of Change only jumped fairly from an outside gate and jockey Linda Meech was forced to ask the Barely A Moment gelding to do plenty of work in the early stages of the race.
Meech allowed Moment Of Change to roll forward and he kicked clear coming around the final bend, but tired in the final stages of the race and was caught by Richie’s Vibe, who flew down the inside of the track to record his maiden win at Group 2 level.
Trainer Tony Vasil acquired Richie’s Vibe at the end of his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and has done a tremendous job keeping the Danerich gelding up and running at the end of what has been a lengthy campaign.
The veteran trainer almost took Richie’s Vibe to Tasmania for the Listed Tattsbet.Com Stakes during the week and was over-the-moon that he elected to stay in Melbourne and give the four-year-old his maiden opportunity at Group 2 level in the Australia Stakes.
“I was going to take him to Launceston for race and I probably have to thank Chris who was going to charge me $12,000 return,” Vasil told the media after the race.
“I subsequently entered him for this race and it appeared to be a pretty soft Group 2.
“Pre-race, obviously number one was the horse with credentials, but it wasn’t surprising to see it get passed out wide the way that the race was won.
“The owners of this horse are a delight to train for and the majority are from up in Darwin so I’m sure that Darwin will be jumping tonight.”
Damien Oliver settled Richie’s Vibe at the tail of the field in the early stages of the race and waited patiently before giving the speedy sprinter an opportunity to finish off with a strong burst.
Oliver and Vasil have recorded a number of big wins in the past, winning the 2004 Caulfield Cup together with Elvstroem, and the leading jockey was delighted to record another victory for the popular trainer.
“It was great; Tony and I have had a lot of luck together over the years,” Oliver said.
“This horse has done an amazing job; he has come from a 60 rater last winter/spring to come and win a Group 2.
“The pace was pretty strong and I was obviously a far way off them.
“I was started to make some nice ground through them and I was almost going to peal off the back and come to the outside, but I just thought I was going to lose some momentum if I did that.
“I went back in and was able to follow the favourite through and knock him over later.”
Vasil is yet to decide on any 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing plans for Richie’s Vibe, while Moment Of Change is set to have his next race start in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.