Vercoe celebrates first city winner with Koonoomoo

Mornington trainer Simon Vercoe celebrated his first city winner on the biggest race day of the year when Koonoomoo took out the Group 3 $200,000 Herald Sun Stakes (1400m) at Flemington today.

A first class ride by Hugh Bowman brushed aside a wide barrier to secure a good run back in the field before shooting up along the fence and slicing in between the leaders at the 200m to score a comfortable win over Cabernet and Mid Summer Music.

“I’m very happy. A great way to break the maiden status in town so I just couldn’t be happier,” Vercoe said.

“It’s a team effort from every one at home, we’re just a small country stable with really loyal owners and it’s great for them.”

“They’ve been supportive for years. Her original trainer now lives in Malaysia, he still part owns her so he’ll be rapted.”

Koonoomoo started at the surprisingly good odds of $26 after putting the writing on the wall with a second at Caulfield in a listed race before a narrow second in a $100,000 Fillies and Mares race at Geelong.

Bowman was at his best following instructions from Vercoe to ride the mare quietly from the wide barrier.

“The instructions were to go back and ride for luck and she’s happier ridden quietly. Last start she was ridden a bit too close to the speed and today ridden quietly she hit the line superb,” Vercoe said.

Bowman was quick to negate the wide barrier from the tricky 1400m start and had the mare camped in behind the main pack and just when Cabernet was being hailed the winner, Koonoomoo burst between the leaders to score a soft one and a half length win.

“I was instructed to just ride it quiet. I anticipated a strong pace and that’s what we got. From the 600m I just started picking them off,” Bowman said.

“All the credit to the filly, all I had to do was point her in the right direction. It was an armchair ride really. It was a pleasure to be sitting in the box seat.”

Stradbroke Handicap winner Mid Summer Music ran her best race this Spring under the big weight and worked to the line for a solid third.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.