Viri­dine vic­tory thrills trainer

The Sunday Times - - SPORT - CHRIS BAR­CLAY

UN­BEATEN Godol­phin colt Viri­dine suc­cess­fully stepped up to black-type rac­ing at Rand­wick, up­stag­ing favoured sta­ble­mate Mala­hat in the Listed Her­itage Stakes yes­ter­day.

For the first time in his three-race ca­reer Viri­dine pro­duced an em­phatic win­ning mar­gin, pleas­ing as­sis­tant trainer Dar­ren Bead­man.

“He did a few things wrong early but when Bren­ton (Av­dulla) asked him for an ef­fort he stuck his head out and he re­ally wanted to hit the line,” Bead­man said.

“He’s a lovely colt. He de­liv­ered twice over the win­ter on soft tracks, only by small mar­gins, where he got into dif­fi­culty a few times and got out of it.”

First-up over 1100m, Viri­dine ($7) pow­ered clear to win by 1-1⁄4 lengths.

Sin­gle Bul­let ($6.50) re­sumed with a sec­ond and Al­bu­min ($17) was a neck back in third.

“He’s only go­ing to keep im­prov­ing, he’s ob­vi­ously three-from-three but his first two wins, he never put the field away. To­day he put the race away at the fur­long,” Av­dulla said.

Favourite Mala­hat ($2.90) set the early pace af­ter jump­ing from the out­side gate but faded to fourth.

“Rand­wick’s not re­ally his track,” Bead­man said.

“He had to do a bit work from the wide gate. To me, he’s a Moonee Val­ley, Can­ter­bury type horse where he can use his speed and run off the cor­ners.”

Godol­phin’s third run­ner Mar­su­pial ($3.60) bat­tled on for fifth af­ter miss­ing the kick.

Mean­while, Greg Ryan was back in the sad­dle at Rand­wick for the first time since an eye op­er­a­tion.

The vet­eran jockey thought Lalar­brook had been caught on the line by She Knows but a photo con­firmed the Dubbo-based geld­ing had hung on to win yes­ter­day’s High­way Hand­i­cap (1000m) by a nose.

“I thought I got beat on the line, I thought they nut­ted me. It was a good ef­fort from the horse,” Ryan said.

Lar­labrook ($4.40) tired over the lat­ter stages but had just enough in re­serve to hold off She Knows ($6).

Un­daoaf ($17) also fin­ished strongly to take third, a short head fur­ther back.

Ryan, who had growth re­moved from his left eye last month to rem­edy blurred vi­sion, doubted the four-yearold would have won first-up had trainer Clint Lund­holm not tri­alled him at Dubbo on Au­gust 28.

“It hard­ened him right up,” he said.

Lund­holm also feared Lar­labrook had been de­nied his third win in four starts when rac­ing for the first time since Fe­bru­ary.

“I thought on the line the out­side got us. I was shak­ing like a leaf,” he said.

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