769 days – now a vic­tory, at last


QUAL­ITY Vic­to­rian sprinter Il­lus­tri­ous Lad ended a frus­trat­ing run for con­nec­tions by win­ning the $100,000 City Of Mar­ion Stakes at Morphettville yes­ter­day.

The Pe­ter Ge­lago­tis-trained geld­ing had not won for 769 days be­fore com­ing off the speed to run down ri­vals, with Tas­ma­nian jockey An­thony Dar­manin in the sad­dle. It was Il­lus­tri­ous Lad’s third win, with one se­cond, from six starts at Morphettville.

“It’s frus­trat­ing. He’s a handy horse and we’ve had a lot of fun with the horse,’’ Ge­lago­tis said.

“He’s travelled here and there and he’s raced well with­out win­ning. It’s al­ways nice to get a win.’’

Ge­lago­tis, pic­tured, said it was al­ways the plan to ride the horse off the speed and save him for one run at ri­vals.

“I said to An­thony, just leave him alone and let him have his time,’’ Ge­lago­tis said. “He jumped well and travelled nicely and got his chance. “I thought at the 100m we were beaten but, to his credit, he wanted to be a win­ner to­day.’’

Ge­lago­tis, a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Ade­laide from his Moe base, said it was im­por­tant to tar­get the right races when head­ing in­ter­state.

“The rac­ing here is strong and I’m un­der no il­lu­sion when you come here you need the right horse,’’ he said. “You can’t just rock up here and think it’s easy pick­ings. This will get his con­fi­dence back.’’

Favourite Plat­inum An­gel con­tin­ued her luck­less record at the top level, charg­ing home from a long way back to grab third just be­hind fel­low Vic­to­rian gal­loper Nariko, who looked to have the race in her keep­ing when she charged past Casino Wizard.

Dar­manin said he was sweat­ing on a run ap­proach­ing the turn, know­ing the horse en­joyed rac­ing room.

“Full credit goes to the horse. The gap opened and he quick­ened re­ally well,’’ he said.

“If he’d been beaten, he would have been stiff,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: ATKINS

RE­TURN TO FORM: Il­lus­tri­ous Lad, rid­den by An­thony Dar­manin, wins the City of Mar­ion Stakes.

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