Tosen’s just made
But tragedy precedes Weir’s latest triumph Tempest move meets with success
TRIUMPH and tragedy are incongruous stablemates on racecourses and even more so on major days.
The Emirates Stakes, a $2 million Group 1 bookend to a fabulous spring carnival, contrived to deliver both in a bittersweet finale to Flemington’s fourth day.
Triumph belonged to the mercurial Tosen Stardom, an enigmatic talent with a huge motor, jockey Damian Lane and trainer Darren Weir.
Tragedy befell Kiwi star Gingernuts and one of the chestnut’s owners after a double pre-race mishap.
Gingernuts went amiss as jockey Michael Dee cantered him to the start. Watching on, one of the horse’s owners fell seriously ill and required immediate medical attention.
A lengthy delay ensued after Dee dismounted and Dr Grace Forbes applied bandages to Gingernuts’ leg before horse ambulance arrived.
Gingernuts was transported to Werribee for emergency care as a shattered Dee struggled to reconcile the incident.
“I definitely felt it happen so straight away I pulled him up and got off him as soon as I could,” he said.
“Not very nice to happen to the horse. Hopefully he comes through it OK.”
The incident and the owner’s illness overshadowed an extraordinary Tosen Stardom victory. Weir, a man not easily moved to superlatives, was gobsmacked by the import’s second Group 1 success of the spring, following the Toorak Handicap.
“It was amazing, wasn’t it? That was the real Tosen Stardom,” Weir said. “We’ve seen it at home — the blinkers have gone on at the right time and switched him on.
“It was a head-scratcher last Saturday (eighth in the Cantala) but in that race, they seemed to jump out, get in their position and stayed there.
“I said to (assistant trainer) Jarrod (McLean), ‘I’m keen to back him up.’ He said, ‘Well there’s no reason why you wouldn’t.’ He’s had a great week, and it’s a great thrill and FASTNET Tempest has given British trainer William Haggas his first Australian win but is set to remain in Victoria.
The gelding won yesterday’s Melbourne’s Own 3AW Trophy (1600m) at Flemington with Kerrin McEvoy aboard. He will join David Hayes’ Lindsay Park team after this campaign.
The win could be Fastnet Tempest’s final start for Hag- great for a horse with such a great pedigree to deliver on the big stage.”
Raced by Australian Bloodstock and several of his original Japanese owners, Tosen Stardom boosted his earnings to more than $3 million with a freakish turn of foot.
“The horse was great. I tell you, he would have been a good thing beat if I didn’t get out,” jockey Lane said.
“I had one run close on me. It really stopped my momentum and to switch across heels and still win was just massive.
“He was always going to be better suited back to weightfor-age and they’ve done a magnificent job during the week to get him to back off his Cantala run so well. I was just the pilot today. I was lucky enough to be on board.”
Happy Clapper and It’s Somewhat filled the minor placings ahead of The Taj Mahal and luckless Folkwood.
But even with the delay and a hectic finish, Tosen Stardom stamped his superiority.
“This spring, nothing’s gone right before this spring, to be honest,” Weir said.
“We ran him at Moonee Valley (last spring), ran great. We put him on the float to go to Sydney, got off the float, cut his leg. Everything that could go wrong with the horse, went wrong with it — but it was never serious.
“It wasn’t a knee, a fetlock, a tendon, gone in the wind, just niggling problems.
“This preparation the consistency of the races has been great for him — fortnight, fortnight, fortnight — and then being able to back up a week later after a soft-ish sort of run held him in great stead today.”
Weir hopes Tosen Stardom’s success will prompt Japanese owners to send more quality gallopers to Australia. gas but OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson said the owners might also look to enter the gelding in next Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
“It’s great for William Haggas, this is his first win in Australia,” Henderson said.
“And young Michael Kent has done a terrific job bringing this horse through quarantine. They all should be congratulated.”
Michael Kent Jr, son of Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent, had an association with Fastnet Tempest when he was a pupil assistant to Haggas in the UK. He said it was fantastic and a relief to see the gelding win in his third start of the spring carnival.
Kent has been looking after the horse at the Werribee quarantine centre.
“I used to ride this horse every day when I was (in the UK) and then William gave me the call to say ‘Can you look after my horse in Australia?’ I’m thrilled for the opportunity,” Kent said.
Fastnet Tempest ($2.70) made his run down the outside and then Raw Impulse charged late after getting clear but missed by a half-head, with three-quarters of a length to Jacquinot Bay third.
Fastnet Tempest wins the Melbourne's Own 3AW Trophy.
Tosen Stardom, ridden by Damian Lane, wins the Emirates Stakes. Picture: MICHAEL KLEIN