With an unusual name and an adorable roman-nose, Ernie Bung Arrow was always going to stand out on the racetrack. On Thursday night, the highly talented youngster emerged on an all new level when he took out the Group 1 Adelaide Cup in front of a bumper crowd at Angle Park.
Trained at Lewiston by Ken Gill, Ernie Bung Arrow has now won 13 of his 14 race starts with his only defeat occurring in August when he ran a close second behind Emerley Zodiak at Angle Park.
The son of Lochinvar Marlow was the favourite heading into the event on Thursday evening, despite being drawn out wide in box eight and facing a sharp rise in class against proven group performers such as Tomac Bale, Ronan Izmir, Peter Rocket and Kokoda Spirit.
However, punters evidently knew a good thing when they saw it.
When the lids flew open for the $75,000-to-the-winner final, Ernie Bung Arrow showed the electrifying early speed that has become a trademark for the black powerhouse, finding the front on the first corner and shooting away.
As the runners turned for home, Ernie Bung Arrow was in no danger as he ran to the line five and a half lengths ahead of the Mark Delbridge-trained Tomac Bale in a scintillating 29.70s. Filling the trifecta was dual group winner Ronan Izmir for Jason Thompson, with fellow Victoria Iona Seven finishing seven lengths behind the winner in fourth.
For Gill, it was the biggest win throughout his 42 year training career. While he had previously trained winners of both the SA Derby and the Gawler Cup, up until last Thursday, the illustrious Group 1 win had eluded him. However, with an ideal draw going into the race, Gill knew he had his best chance of snaring a win at the top level in the SA’s most prestigious event
“I’ve been in a group 3 a couple of times- I’ve won the Derby before and I have won the Gawler Cup before- but a Group 1 is a little bit better”.
“I was reasonably confident without being over-confident going into the race- box eight suits him because he gets a clear run and nothing is going to hit him early”
“He has early pace and it wins 90% of races if they can lead, so I hope he can keep it”.
Remarkably, it was also the second Group victory for Ernie Bung Arrow from just his last three starts. Last month, the ultra-talented youngster claimed the Group 3 SA Derby and the $25,000 winner’s cheque. While he does not turn two until the end of next month, Ernie Bung Arrow has now accumulated a wealthy bank account just shy of the $120,000 mark- not bad for a pup that was purchased for just $800.
Ernie Bung Arrow’s victory in the Adelaide Cup has now earned him an interstate vacation this weekend. The 31.8 kilogram dog will head to Victoria this Saturday night where he will trial at The Meadows. It is anticipated he will be racing at the track in just under a fortnight when the stars of the canine world assemble for the Group 1 Topgun.
“We are hoping (He gets a start in the Topgun). He is booked to fly over there Saturday morning and we are going to trial him Saturday night at The Meadows whether he gets a start in the Topgun or not”.
After the Topgun, Gill is likely to avoid the tempting Melbourne Cup series in favour of a feature race closer to home, before looking at some age-restricted series’ for the dog he proclaims to be ‘the best dog I’ve trained’.
“I don’t know about the Melbourne Cup because he has got one back on over here in Adelaide that he is just about a shoe in for, the Brian Johnstone, and that’s worth 30-odd thousand and is a group 3. He is still only a young dog so I don’t think we will head to the Melbourne Cup. We will try and keep him in his own age as much as we can”.
Whatever series he goes on to target, if Ernie Bung Arrow maintains his brilliant early speed and tenacious chasing attitude, he looks set for a fruitful career ahead on the track.