Whirl­wind filly eyes Cup

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - NIC ASH­MAN

IT’S been 50 years since a filly won the ATC Oaks– Mel­bourne Cup dou­ble in the same year but John Sar­gent says Gust Of Wind is show­ing all the signs that she’ll mea­sure up this spring.

Light Fin­gers will be re­mem­bered for giv­ing the mae­stro Bart Cum­mings his first Mel­bourne Cup. No one knew in 1965 that Cum­mings would go on to train another 11 Cups he­roes nor did they know that not one Aus­tralian Oaks win­ner would bag the Mel­bourne Cup six months later for the next 50 years.

Gust Of Wind got tongues wag­ging when she de­buted for Sar­gent with one of the most amaz­ing wins this sea­son.

The filly wasn’t sighted on the TV screen at the 200m of a Scone maiden but some­how man­aged to win the 1400m event on Fe­bru­ary 23.

Fast for­ward to day two of The Cham­pi­onships and the daugh­ter of Darci Brahma made Winx take a back seat when bag­ging the Group ATC Oaks.

“Hasn’t that form held up pretty well,” Sar­gent said.

“All I can say is not many horses I’ve had have come back from a spell look­ing as good as her.

“We’re very con­fi­dent we’ve got a bet­ter Gust Of Wind than the one we sent to the spell­ing pad­dock in April.”

But she needs to be be­cause tra­di­tion­ally fil­lies haven’t mea­sured up when they “take on the cream of Aus­tralian rac­ing” as four year olds dur­ing the spring.

“A lot of the fil­lies that win an Oaks do so be­cause they’re sim­ply bet­ter horses but not be­cause they’re bet­ter stay­ers,” he said.

“That’s not the case with her. She’s a nat­u­ral stayer and when those types re­ally strengthen up like she has over the break, they tend to go to a new level.”

Sar­gent will kick Gust Of Wind off in “a race like the War­wick Stakes” where he’ll use the 1400m Group 2 weight- for- age event to as­sess how close Gust Of Wind is to “the good horses”. “I want to try and run her in big tracks so a race like the Bart Cum­mings in Oc­to­ber might be prefer­able to the Caulfield Cup but her main aim is the Mel­bourne Cup,” he said.

Tye Eng­land on Gust of Wind.

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