Cumani’s baby installs belief with triumph
Matt Cumani described two-year-old colt Khoekhoe as his dream horse after he produced a withering finishing burst to take out Melbourne's second richest two-year-old event the $855,000 The Showdown (1200m).
Cumani said it was important in Australia to prove he could train two-year-olds and he needed a horse such as Khoekhoe to come along early in his fledgling training to show he could do it.
"It's important to have good two-year-olds in Australia and I've been trying to prove that we can do it. We've had stakes winners at two - this isn't a black type race but it's worth an awful lot of money - and great to do it.
Cumani purchased the son of Turffontein for $50,000 at last year's Melbourne Premier Sales.
"We put a lot of work into finding good value horses, and he had a great pedigree - no black type but lots of winners. He was just a stand out horse at the sales and I'm thrilled we got him."
"What a horse. He's an exciting horse."
Cumani had his heart in mouth though during the race as Khoekhoe settled midfield and was still sixth with 150m to go but he produced a barnstorming finish to run down River Night who had kicked clear with 300m to go and looked set for victory.
Khoekhoe ($14) defeated River Night ($5.50 fav) by a head with Galactic Fury ($61) three and a half lengths away third.
Cumani said Khoekhoe produced a similar style win at Echuca but he needed to see him do it again to confirm his talent.
" I was a little worried after Echuca that maybe he was just flattered by the pace and maybe the better ground out wide. But to see him to that today was unbelievable."
Making it even more special for Cumani was that he stuck with his apprentice Fred Kersley and gave him a farewell present as ends his indentures on Sunday.
"He's a fantastic rider. I just thought Fred was brilliant on him though. He didn't panic, he just was waiting, waiting, waiting for the gap and it opened perfectly for him and the horse did the rest.
Kersley thought Khoekhoe was in trouble as he was held up for a run.
"I certainly knew that I had a lap full of horse and it was a matter of where I go and when I go. But thankfully we got out and around heels without steadying all too much. And, geez, when he got fresh air he really lengthened well," Kersley said.
He said he was looking forward to the challenge of trying to make it as a senior jockey and intends to work hard at it.
He said it would be a harder than normal winter with the senior jockeys sticking around to ride without taking a break.
FAMILY AFFAIR WITH JAKE ON THE MONEY
Father and son trainer-jockey combination of Tony Noonan and Jake Noonan combined for their biggest success together when outsider Florent took out the $427,500 VOBIS Sires Guineas (3YO).
The $51 winner proved a knockout blow in the Quaddie as it paid $202,402.
Despite the big odds Tony Noonan was confident the daughter of Fiorente would run well.
"I won't be the only one with a smile on my face - there's a few there. Especially the owners. This is something that we targeted," Noonan said.
Noonan said he took an unorthodox path to this race by running Florent at Geelong on Wednesday in a Benchmark 64 where she came from well back to finish fifth in a 1400m race.
"She ran really well there. We were quietly confident."
Noonan said he gave his son Jake an old footy coach style rev-up when he came out to ride Florent.
"I said I want a really good ride here. He just had it in the box seat. It's amazing what good draws can do. She drew well, got into a good forward position and you wanted to be on her a long way out."
The jockey followed his father's instructions to a tee and had her perfectly positioned.
"I landed in a plum spot and had a great run. She was never going to lose from the 600m mark."
Jake Noonan though didn't need to be convinced of Florent's ability and chances of winning the race as he told fellow jockey Mick Dee on the way to the barriers that she was the best $51 chance he would ride in the next month.
"She's a quality filly on the way up. We just haven't seen the best of her.
"She was only beaten three lengths by the favourite at her first start. So we still had a lot of improvement to come. She's a nice filly going forward and will improve on everything she's done.
"On ability, I gave her a chance," Noonan said.
Florent ($51) defeated Leale ($31) by a long neck with the unlucky Affair To Remember ($3.40 fav) a half length away third.
DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR PASCOE
Hobby trainer John Pascoe was the perfect advertisement for the Victorian Owners and Breeder's race day as not only does he train Vainstream, the winner of the $200,000 VOBIS Gold Sprint, he also bred him and part-owns him.
Pascoe bred Vainstream from his smart mare Yasey San and he said the son of Bel Esprit needed time to mature. "We've needed time to work him out with his feed and he loves racing."
Pascoe only has three horses under his name.
Vainstream was ridden by journeyman jockey Noel Callow.
FINALLY SOME REWARD FOR EFFORT
Greg Eurell was pleased that the Shelley Hancox syndicated Clarice Cliffs finally landed a good race when she took out the VOBIS Gold Staff.
Early in her career Clarice Cliffs showed a lot of talent but tended to over-race. Eurell has managed to teach her to settle as Clarice Cliffs showed as she came from off the speed to win over 1400m.
Now Eurell believes she can handle 1600m and he is considering taking her to Adelaide for a Listed race.
FORMER JOCKEY LANDS TIDY DOUBLE
Former top jockey Mark Pegus hasn't been training for long and until last Sunday it had been ticking along slowly but since then recent stable recruit Sentimentalist has won his hometown Stawell Cup and then the $200,000 VOBIS Gold Heath at Caulfield on Saturday.
Pegus said he was thankful he'd been able to pick up the former Terry and Karina O'Sullivan trained galloper recently.
"I'm really happy. Kicking off like I am and having a horse like this, and getting to back up and do the job, and beating a good horse like Mr Quickie, it shows that he's got a bit of heart."
Originally published as Cumani's baby installs belief with triumph