It was back to basics from veteran local hoop Jim Byrne who produced a bold front-running ride on gun four-year-old Apache Chase to hand much-loved Brisbane trainer Desleigh Forster her first Group 1 success in the Group 1 $700,000 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm.
Pre-race instructions from Forster were to use the horse’s speed, and that is exactly what Byrne did with the all-the-way weight-for-age victory in the third Group 1 on Saturday’s Queensland Derby Day card.
“All I said to J. Byrne was ‘don’t go slow’,” Forster told Sky Thoroughbred Central post-win.
“Use his speed, use his gate, dig him and send him, get to the 3 (300m) and let him go.
“If they are good enough to run past him, they are good enough but if they are not, too bad.
“They weren’t a hope, they just left him in front and he just walked.
“He (Apache Chase) means the world to me.”
Backing-up from a second in The Archer over the same distance in Rockhampton, Apache Chase ($12) relished a Good (4) track back home holding out the fast-finishing Godolphin three-year-old Paulele ($6) in a photo-thriller.
“It was just going back to basics,” winning jockey Byrne said.
“Des spoke to us beforehand and she said let’s just go back to basics and ride the horse the way we know that he can do it.”
It was the second Group 1 Brisbane placing in as many starts for the James Cummings-trained Paulele who also finished runner-up the run prior behind Mazu in the Doomben 10,000.
“He tried his heart out. Ran super,” second-placed hoop James McDonald said of Paulele’s performance.
“We jumped beautifully and got into a lovely spot. Credit to the winner, he’s a great horse, he out-toughed us today, but I’m so proud of him because he was in for the fight and he fought all the way up to the line.
“Just to miss by a bob is a bit disappointing, but credit to the winner, he did a good job.”
There was a blanket-finish in this year’s Kingsford-Smith Cup results with less than half a length separating the first four over the line in the Stradbroke lead-up.
In third after flashing home late was the Gregory Hickman-trained Eleven Eleven ($15) who looks on track for the Group 1 $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) back at the track on June 11 according to his hoop Hugh Bowman.
“It was a superb run, he’s really on track for the Stradbroke after that superb performance,” Bowman said.
Also narrowly beaten rounding out the first four was Rob Heathcote‘s former JJ Atkins winner Rothfire who worked his way into the finish late on way to the Stradbroke.
“Just a bob of the head really,” fourth-placed hoop James Orman said.
“I got the right run, just couldn’t get there today. He’s improved a lot back on top of the ground today and will run a really good race in the Stradbroke.”
The latest all-in 2022 Stradbroke Handicap betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have Apache Chase into $9 favouritism.