Seventh Group 1 win for superstar Hussler
REPORT: AUSTRALIA, Saturday
Caulfield: Underwood Stakes (Group 1) 1m1f
AUSTRALIAN superstar Weekend Hussler is on the verge of greatness after recording his seventh Group 1 win in the last 12 months with a stylish victory as he raced beyond a mile for the first time inthe Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.
The Ross McDonald-trained four-year-old again reigned supreme as he took his overall record to 12 wins from 15 starts. Named horse of the year after a record-equalling six Group 1s as a three-year-old, the gelded son of Hussonet's feat in winning seven in a 12-month period has only previously been achieved by Vain.
Although the final margin was only three-quarters of a length, Weekend Hussler put in a totally dominant performance,never looking in any real danger against a field of proven Group 1 horses.
He will now bid to match Rising Fast, who in 1954 became the only horse to complete the coveted Caufield Cup-Cox Plate-Melbourne Cup treble, at trips between 1m2f and 2m. "With this horse, you never have any doubt," said McDonald.
In the Underwood, regular rider Brad Rawiller settled odds-on shot Weekend Hussler third and on the outer of Light Fantastic. With five furlongs to run, he angled his mount out three wide and was poised to challenge front-running Maldivian approaching the home turn.
Maldivian sprinted strongly on the point of the home turn and put a break of two lengths on Weekend Hussler, but Rawillerwound his mount up and edged to the front inside the final furlong, hotly pursued by Pompeii Ruler.
In the end, the champion scored a cosy, but decisive, victory in the $A350,000 (£158,000) feature. Littorio finished well totake third two lengths behind Pompeii Ruler, with Maldivian a weakening fourth.
"I thought it was a pretty good effort - he sat three wide most of the way, did plenty of work and was still too good," said McDonald. "He was always going to get Maldivian - he just keeps improving and there's more to come. There is always pressure on him to win, but we know what he can do and how good he is."
Rawiller added: "Going around to the gates he's not100 per cent there yet but looks a million dollars. This was a good field but once again he's out on top.
"It there was ever a horse to win the big three then this is the one - he's still improving and Ross is a great trainer whowill get the best out of him."