Gytrash 2 – Nature Strip 0
This isn’t a football score but an accurate reflection of the moment when Adelaide’s Gytrash shed his giant-killer reputation and proved he is the real deal.
Twice these super speedsters have met and Gytrash has trumped his rival both times, gunning down the world’s highest-rated sprinter Nature Strip again in the Group 3 $160,000 TAB Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
As punters were coming to terms with hot favourite Nature Strip’s shock loss, Gytrash’s trainer Gordon Richards was coming to terms with his new-found fame.
Bring on the #TABEverest! In a sensational run the giant killer Gytrash gets the win in the TAB Concorde Stakes! pic.twitter.com/dd8Yb51TPF
“It has taken me 50 years to be an overnight success,’’ Richards said. “I just wish things like this happened to me when I was 30 or 40, not 69!”
Standing nearby was part-owner Valerie Gordon, 92 years young and venturing out to the races for the first time in years to watch Gytrash.
“This overwhelming,’’ Ms Gordon said. “It’s such a big thrill. I will have to come back for The Everest.’’
Richards and his owners are going to have to get used to the media and public focus on him in the build-up to the $15 million The TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 17 as Gytrash demonstrated he is the horse to beat in the world’s richest turf race.
The Concorde Stakes was over in just 55.81s – just 0.8s outside the course record – but so much was packed into the 1000m dash.
Gytrash ($5), ridden a ‘’stalking’’ race by Jason Collett, mowed down Nature Strip ($1.45 favourite) to win by a widening one-and-a-half lengths. Dirty Work ($10) ran a blinder third, closing to within a half length of Nature Strip on the line.
Gytrash (right) stormed home to defeat Nature Strip in the Concorde Stakes at Royal Randwick. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Immediately after the race, TAB Fixed Odds price assessors adjusted The TAB Everest market with Gytrash firming from $11 into outright second favouritism at $6 while Nature Strip retained his position at the top of betting although he eased from $2.50 to $3.
Nature Strip settled outside Ball of Muscle as they hurtled along in front with Gytrash trailing that pair into the straight.
James McDonald didn’t do much wrong on Nature Strip and had every right to feel confident as the big chestnut strode up the rise under a good hold. Although Nature Strip did tire late, McDonald was far from disappointed with the sprinter’s effort.
“He was good, felt terrific and executed well,’’ McDonald said.
Even Richards admitted he was worried when Nature Strip accelerated two lengths clear of Gytrash just inside the 400m.
“I thought he (Gytrash) was in a bit of trouble turning for home,’’ Richards said.
“The other two sort of held up a bit so they’d have a kick. They kicked away from him but he knuckled down as he always does — he’s a good horse.
“It’s Father’s Day tomorrow but I’ll take the early present.’’
Collett went into the Concorde Stakes not knowing what to expect after being disappointed with Gytrash at trackwork last Monday. He knows now.
Gytrash produced a stunning finishing burst in the Concorde Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“When I pushed Gytrash in that gallop on Monday with a one-paced stayer, it still beat my horse by about three lengths and I thought, I’ve stuffed this up somehow,’’ Collett said.
“The gallop wasn’t that of an Everest horse — that win was.”
Collett said his confidence soared behind the barriers as Gytrash was “just so switched on.’’
“Then, after the jump, we had the back of Nature Strip and I just didn’t let him get away from me,’’ Collett said. “We were close enough on straightening and he felt just beautiful. When I asked him, he switched up a gear.
“He’s a bit unassuming in some ways compared to some other horses that are Everest sprinters. He is very good, but he’s just so casual about it.”
Next stop #TABEverest.. Gordon Richards isn't home sick anymore after that win from Gytrash. pic.twitter.com/YLigcNM5M8
Richards maintained there was improvement to come from Gytrash but didn’t commit to another lead-up run before The Everest.
“I think there is improvement, most horses improve after their first-up runs, and he wasn’t totally screwed down as I had to back off him with all the travelling he’s done,’’ he said.
“We might have one more (race) or none before The Everest.
“On reflection I probably should have shied away from this race and run him in The Shorts then The Everest. But we wanted to meet Nature Strip head-on because they are the horses you have to beat to win The Everest.’’
DASHING DAME EYES PRINCESS CROWN
Dame Giselle is on track for a rare Princess Series clean sweep after another outstanding win at Royal Randwick.
Despite being three-wide without cover for most of the race, Dame Giselle showed class and courage to win the Group 2 $200,000 Furious Stakes (1200m).
Trainer Paul Snowden described Dame Giselle as a “special filly” to overcome a tough run and hold off the fast finishing Hungry Heart.
“She didn’t have any luck at all at any stage,’’ Snowden said. “But she just shown her tenacity today, she has done it twice now three deep no cover and got away with the victory.’’
Dame Giselle, confidently backed into $3.80 favouritism, scored by a half-length from the closing Hungry Heart ($4.40) with Forbidden Love ($10) one-and-a-quarter lengths away third.
Dame Giselle takes out the @DarleyStallions Furious Stakes in an outstanding run to remain unbeaten in the Princess Series. pic.twitter.com/FjP9WJTtpx
The Team Snowden-trained filly ran the 1200m in a fast 1m 8.83, a new race record adding further merit to the win.
Berry said he felt Dame Giselle had the race won “a long way out.’’
“She showed today her turn of foot that she didn’t show first-up so it was good to see,’’ Berry said. “I felt like she sort of stargazed a bit when she got to the front but when Hungry Heart came to me at the 100m she really lifted again.
“She’s a brilliant filly and she should get 1400m at least. I got roped into thinking that Libertini might stretch out a bit further last preparation as well but all you can do is keep stepping her up and hope that she does.”
Dame Giselle has won the Silver Shadow Stakes and Furious Stakes at her two comeback runs this spring and will now go to the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 19 before the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick again on October 3 – the four races that comprise the coveted Princess Series for three-year-old fillies.
Tommy Berry was full of praise for Dame Giselle after her win in the Furious Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The only fillies to go through the Princess Series unbeaten are Samantha Miss (2008) and Angst (1993).
Snowden is adamant Dame Giselle will have no trouble running a strong 1400m in the Tea Rose Stakes in two weeks.
“We think she is going to excel at 1400m, just getting a little bit more of a sit in her races mid-race and she’s still got that devastating turn of foot which you saw today,’’ Snowden said.
“She is learning to relax. Even though she led the other day she didn’t get too aggressive in front.
“Today, she had no cover again today and I think she told Tommy where she wanted to be because he was going to go back too far. She reacted midrace and were a pair and a half closer then relaxed again and found her happy spot.
“Her coat still hasn’t come through, there is still a bit more to work with there and the races are bringing her on.”
Originally published asGytrash proves the real deal in race to Everest
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