After four excellent heats last week, the Group 3 West End Draught Anniversary Cup promised to be a great race to watch. With a quality field engaged, it certainly didn’t disappoint as former Victorian Dark Duo needed every bound to lay claim as the current master of Angle Park’s 515m journey.
After a tardy beginning, the Robin Harnas trained chaser showed his usual mustering speed to join the leading pack around the first bend. Race favourite Symmetry began poorly and wasn’t able to find the space required to stay in touch as local chaser Brahma Boy raced away down the back.
In what looked set to be a boil over result, Brahma Boy was high-tailing in front and as a winner of 15 from 26 starts was always going to be hard to run down. But looming behind was the distinctive giant strides Dark Duo, who doesn’t take lightly to running second. Cool In Blue and Point Two Over were trying to make runs off the back as the stage was being set for a great finish.
Turning for home and it was a two-dog war, with Brahma Boy desperately trying to hold on and give trainer John Mundy a night to remember. But in a repeat dose of the week prior, the class of Dark Duo was too strong, and the powerful sprinter grabbed the lead with one stride to go and snatched a deserved victory on the line, taking the $20,000 first prize in 29.82.
Owned by Tung Phan, this talented son of Bombastic Shiraz and Token Whiz has now won 10 from 13 at Adelaide’s premier venue and 19 from 41 races overall. His prizemoney has jumped to over $66,000 since his move to South Australia a few months back. That relocation has since yielded a final berth in the prestigious Group 1 Adelaide Cup and several other slashing times in top grade.
Braham Boy was gallant in defeat and from a relatively humble start to his career, has now shown the potential to be a true big-race performer. Likewise with Point Two Over, who ran third in the event, nearly 3 lengths astern.
Victorian star Symmetry was never in the hunt from box one and ran fifth while Salubrious who had won three on the trot before the final ended up in sixth place after a slow start and finding trouble.
Another notable performance on the night was that of 2010 Adelaide Cup placegetter Strictly Mambo.
After putting writing on the wall last week with a luckless placing, this week he was able to use every inch of the 515m to grab another win. His tally now reads as 34 wins – 20 at Angle Park – from 80 career appearances for owner and trainer Janice Jones. His consistency and dourness over a variety of journeys has made him such a prolific winner and it seems unfortunate he hasn’t received the amount of attention he deserves.
Prankster also returned to the winners circle from box eight in the Free For All event running 30.09. It was a well overdue win from Robert Britton’s former top-line racer. However, as is the case in the changing fortunes of racing, Britton’s other feature runner; Banger Harvey broke down severely and was served with a 6 month stand-down.