Shane Whitney’s roller-coaster week finished on a high when his star stayer Fallen Zorro took out the $36,000 Group 2 Sir John Dillon Memorial at Sandown Park tonight.
Just a day after Whitney was forced to scratch Chinatown Lad after the dual Group 1 winner succumbed to an infected tail, Fallen Zorro stormed down the centre of the track to defeat Gunnadoo Magic ($4.50) by the barest possible margin.
Sent to the boxes a $2.80 favourite following her litter-mate’s scratching, Fallen Zorro began fairly from box three however it was Oodles Rocks ($6.70) who pushed through to take the early lead.
Fallen Zorro was forced wide on the track as Gunnadoo Magic ($4.50) and Ready To Star ($8.20) railed through to attack the early leader.
When Break The Ice ($22.60) made his move, it appeared as though Fallen Zorro had run her race. However coming off the back straight, Fallen Zorro found a second wind to again join Gunnadoo Magic and Ready To Star in a thrilling run to the line.
Ready To Star appeared to have the race at her mercy until Gunnadoo Magic again pushed through on the rail and Fallen Zorro swept down the middle of the track. In one of the closest finishes to a Sandown feature race, Gunnadoo Magic’s lunge at the line was not enough – Fallen Zorro claiming the Group 2 feature by a nose.
The win was Fallen Zorro’s 15th from 39 career starts and took her career prizemoney to over $135,000. It was her second Group 2 win at Sandown Park (she won the Group 2 McKenna Memorial in June), and improved her Group race record to a remarkable eight finals for two wins and six placings.
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4th Kulu Spirit ($4.70), 5th Break The Ice ($22.60), 6th Oodles Rocks ($6.70) 7th Flying Kosmos ($29.10) and Wot Price Harold ($26.10).
Fallen Zorro is Blue Fawn Bitch whelped December ’05 she is by Lilli Pilli Lad from Chinatown Babe (Fortifield Rush x Counter Power). The Group 2 Dillon Memorial win took her record to 39 starts for 15 wins and 16 placings and prizemoney earnings of $135,615. She is trained at Brighton in Tasmania by Shane Whitney.
Shane Whitney will now head towards the heats of the Group 2 Hume Cup at The Meadows on October 25, before returning to Sandown Park for the heats of the Group 2 Bold Trease Carnival Cup on Schweppes Melbourne Cup heats night on Thursday 20 November.
Thursday night’s race was the 31st running of the Sir John Dillon Memorial and listed below is the past
outstanding stayers who won the event.
- Sir John Dillon Memorial Full Honour Roll
- 1978 Darville’s Flyer
- 1979 Traduce
- 1980 Blue Brew
- 1981 Lone Voice
- 1982 Supplier
- 1983 Madam Cecie
- 1984 Sheila’s Teresa
- 1985 Caddie’s Champ
- 1986 Pharaoh’s Mask
- 1987 Bold Trease
- 1988 Blazing Bub
- 1989 Rules
- 1990 La Dancer
- 1991 Modern Express
- 1992 Hanson Blaze
- 1993 Rich Return
- 1994 Hypa Din
- 1995 Joint Mission
- 1996 Shirlabella
- 1997 Red Mystique
- 1998 John Beam
- 1999 Paparazzi
- 2000 Osti’s Joker
- 2001 Bentley Babe
- 2002 Westend Prince
- 2003 Arvo’s Junior
- 2004 Arvo’s Athena
- 2005 Texas Gold
- 2006 Miss Brook
- 2007 Kulu Magic
- 2008 Fallen Zorro
Earlier in the night, Hybrid Theory, Sweet About Me, Stoner Bale and Violet Crumble each recorded impressive wins in their respective Schweppes Melbourne Cup Preludes.
Sweet About Me ($3F) received an early bump before leading through the first turn however she was soon headed by Bora Bale ($5). A runner up in last week’s Group 2 South Australian Oaks, Sweet About Me found another gear approaching the final turn, sweeping to the lead and powering to the line to win by 6.75 lengths in a Best of Night 29.80.
Group 1 Laurels winner Hybrid Theory ($3.90) maintained her undefeated Sandown Park record, pinging from box 2 to lead all-the-way in 29.96. Last start Bill Collins Memorial winner Violet Crumble ($3.30F) continued her good form to win in 29.89, while the night’s shortest priced favourite Stoner Bale ($1.60F) proved too good in 29.84.
Each Prelude winner secured their place in the $250,000 Group 1 Schweppes Melbourne Cup heats with the final to be run on Thursday 27 November 2008.