Sun­shine shaded Royal Sym­phony hits top note

Sunday Herald Sun - - Racing - LEO SCHLINK leo.schlink@news.com.au

EX­CEP­TIONAL horses have a rare knack of avert­ing cri­sis, spar­ing jock­eys blushes in the process.

Royal Sym­phony man­aged pre­cisely that with an ex­tra­or­di­nary vic­tory in an in­ter­fer­ence-marred Pin & Win Plate (1400m) at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day.

Badly pock­eted at the 400m, Dwayne Dunn coolly wove through the field be­fore Royal Sym­phony tight­ened his grip on Caulfield Guineas favouritism with a stun­ning win.

Dunn shook his head in dis­be­lief after over­haul­ing Eclair Sun­shine to score by a head.

Ju­bi­la­tion and re­lief were two fac­tors be­hind Dunn’s head shak­ing. Frus­tra­tion at the rough-house tac­tics of ri­val jock­eys was an­other.

“He got smashed early and, to his credit, he put up with that,” Dunn said be­fore ste­wards ques­tioned Ben Mel- ham (Mighty Boss) and Re­gan Bayliss (Eclair Sun­shine).

“I just had to ride him for luck and when the luck came, he ac­cel­er­ated.

“Good horses get you out of trou­ble.

“On the corner turn­ing in, I thought ‘I’m in trou­ble here, I’m fin­ished’.

“I ac­tu­ally was lucky I got onto the back of Phillip Stokes’ horse (Eclair Sun­shine) and sort of took him into the race.

“He got me into the clear, oth­er­wise I was in a bit of pain.”

Watch­ing on anx­iously, trainer Tony McEvoy had al­most re­signed him­self to cer­tain de­feat at the 400m.

“Dwayne just kept him bal­anced and got him home,” he said. “It was re­ally spe­cial. “I nearly did the old ‘can’t win’, but Dwayne just peeled his way through the field and the way he picked up late was (some) thing that spe­cial horses do.

“I’d have half a dozen horses that work bet­ter than him at home — I’m not go­ing to tell you their names — but he’s a game-day horse.

“When the bell goes, he turns up.

“That’s what you need to be a high-class race­horse.”

McEvoy con­ceded Royal Sym­phony’s habit of not mus­ter­ing early speed al­most cer­tainly would have brought a dif­fer­ent sce­nario at Caulfield in the Guineas.

“I’ve got to find an­other way to help that, so I’ll be call­ing on a lot of peo­ple with a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence to help us there,” he said.

“If he did that at Caulfield, it would be awk­ward.

“He was very fresh com­ing into to­day, but I thought he was fit enough and thank­fully he got the job done.

“I wanted him ready to win to­day, be­cause I wanted to pro­tect his record, but I didn’t want him peak­ing (yet).

“He’ll peak in mid-Oc­to­ber.”

Pic­ture: MAL FAIRCLOUGH, AAP

Dwayne Dunn and Royal Sym­phony (No.1) reel in Eclair Sun­shine.

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