It may not have been a stakes race, however, young Wyong conditioner Sara Ryan scored the biggest win of her short training career after Attractable won the $3 million The Big Dance at Randwick on Melbourne Cup day.
Only holding her licence for about a year, Ryan prepares the five-year-old for connections of company Domeland, its winner elevating himself into the field after winning the Coffs Harbour Cup in August.
The Big Dance eligibility is restricted to winners of selected country cup events throughout the previous 12 months.
While bred in Victoria, Attractable was sold via notable South Australian breeding property Mill Park to his owners for $290,000 at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
According to Ryan, Attractable is a "comedian", but "he tried to kill me" the previous day.
"I knew then that he was right," Ryan said.
Another major winner of Yarraman Park's ace stallion I Am Invincible, Attractable defeated race favourite Matt Dunn-trained GB-bred galloper Cepheus (by Sea The Stars), with the Joseph/Jones team, Canberra, long-shot Super Helpful (Super One) third.
While another Canberra conditioner, Matthew Kelley won a hometown race with Rathlin at Canberra, he also took the inaugural $250,000 Barn Dance with I've Been Tryin', the race restricted to country-trained horses on the same day. The Spill The Beans gelding finished third in this year's Country Championship Final and was fifth in The Kosciuszko also at Randwick.
While there were numerous bush race meets around the state, there was a large contingent of country enthusiasts at Randwick, also evident via the country-only event TAB Highway Handicap. This was won by the above-average I Am Invincible gelding Emperor, which is trained at Murwillumbah by Matthew Dunn.
The Kris Lees, Newcastle, trained Spangler - an Irish-bred son of Coolmore Stud's Australian-bred outstanding sire Starspangledbanner, won the $750,000 Little Dance.
Meanwhile, Irish-bred Without A Fight became the first horse to win the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double since Ethereal in 2001, following the gelding's convincing victory in the nation-stopping event at Flemington.
Trained by Anthony Freedman and his son Sam, Without a Fight became the third Melbourne Cup winner sired by former Darley shuttler Teofilo - Twilight Payment in 2020 and Cross Counter in 2018, his previous victors.
Memorable Australian-bred Teofilo miler/middle-distance gallopers include Happy Clapper, Palentino, and recently Alegron and Character, while New Zealand foaled Kermadec and Humidor are others.
Ridden by Mark Zahra, Without A Fight defeated the Chris Waller-trained pair - GB-bred Soulcombe (Frankel) and French-bred Sheraz (Sea The Stars), with 2022 Cup runners French-bred Ashrun (Authorized) fourth, NZ-bred Daqiansweet Junior (Sweet Orange) fifth, and Irish-bred Interpretation (Galileo) in sixth spot.
Interestingly, the now seven-year-old Without A Fight disappointed in last year's Melbourne Cup when finishing unplaced to Gold Trip, which was also ridden by Mark Zahra.
I recall when Towkay was sold in the old William Inglis and Son sale's ring at its Newmarket Stables at Randwick at the 1996 Easter Yearling Sale in April. Towkay was royally bred and was among the pick-of-the-crop that year when sold via (the original) Segenhoe Stud, Scone for $600,000.
After his track career, the bay horse spent his stud life in NZ, from which he was reported to have recently died at his long-time home of Little Avondale stud in the North Island at age 29.
He was by champion Australian sire Last Tycoon and produced from champion Irish import Princess Tracy, dam of five stakes winners, her most notable being Danasinga, Cullen and champion South African mare Tracy's Element.
While winning three races, including the MVRC C S Hayes Stakes-G3, Towkay became a sire of note, leaving 28 stakes performers and, importantly, three group one winners.
Towkay's legacy continues today via his broodmare daughters, which includes Geordie Girl, dam of NZ-bred and trained $1.1m earner Legarto (seven wins including five stakes and a group one in NZ and Melbourne).
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