By Graham Potter | Thursday, February 11, 2010
Eagle Farm, February 10, 2010.
Track - Slow 6. Rail - out 10m.
Class 4 Handicap - 1000m. Time: 57.76. (Carrying 57.5kg).
1 Wild Wilbur; 2 Zebakwe; 3 Bruleur.
The Michael Lakey trained Wild Wilbur was full of himself in the parade ring before the running of the fifth race at Eagle Farm on Wednesday and he brought that fire to the contest itself when he outgunned his opposition with a strong all the way effort which carried him to a 1.50 length victory.
The gelding landed in the leading line and held the rail while disputing the lead with Craiglea Wizard and Take A Stand at a good speed in the early part. Wild Wilbur dismissed the challenges of Craiglea Wizard and Take A Stand as the field turned for home, but he then had to deal with the presence of Zebakwe along his inside after that runner had cut the corner to move into contention.
Jockey Stathi Katsidis not only held the lead on Wild Wilbur at that stage, but he had also made certain he had got the five-year-old over to the better part of the track and, while Zebakwe gave plenty of cheek, Wild Wilbur always had his opponent covered, a fact that was emphasised when he edged away from Zebakwe over the final 100m to score by a clear-cut 1.50 lengths.
Wild Wilbur’s market rival, the favourite Bruleur, had an uncomfortable passage. All things considered he did well to finish third, only 1.70 lengths behind the winner.
Trainer Michael Lakey: “He was very fresh. He had a month between runs.
“He just jumped straight onto the bridle. Stathi (Katsidis) said he was a bit worried at the top of the straight because he said he had a lap full of horse but when he straightened up, the horse pricked his ears and completely spat the bit out. Stathi said he thought ... oh, I’m gone!
“Stathi gave him a dig and he found something. He must have just been stargazing.
“We’ve kept him to sprint races. Each time Stathi has been on he has said, aah put him in something further. He likes to settle back in his races. You know half of his races he has sort of got back to midfield and hit the line really strong.
“We’ll see what we do next. He has won four and been second five times in eleven starts, so that’s pretty good.
Jockey Stathi Katsidis: “He was really impressive today. He just wanted to get on with the job.
“He’s been getting back a bit his last couple of starts, but it’s been a month between runs and he was just ‘fresh as’ today. He was a handful for the boy leading him around.
“He just jumped and I left him where he was, which was in front. It was very important today to get to nearly the outside fence. The inside ... the water seemed to have sat there and it was sloshy in there. On the outside where I was it was probably only a dead track whereas on the inside it was slow to heavy.
“The other horses attacked me early so the only time I was able to give him a breather was as I got into the straight. He spat the bit out then and I thought maybe they had pressed me too hard and he was a bit buggered, but to his credit he fought on from the 300 and kept going. He’s got plenty of ticker.”
Winner (Wild Wilbur): 2.50 out to 2.90.
Favourite (Bruleur): 2.50 out to 2.90 in to 2.80. Finished third.
STEWARDS REPORT EXTRACT:
Reassuring (C. McIver) was slow to begin. Shortly after the start Diasco (C. Munce) shifted in and made heavy contact with Bruleur (L. Rolls). As a result, Bruleur became unbalanced.
Near the 300m Bruleur and Craiglea Whizard (K. Wharton) bumped. Bruleur was inclined to shift out under pressure after passing the 200m.