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Elle of a day at the races

ALL EYES at Echuca racecourse on Monday were on a horse that finished fourth.

It might not have been as feverish as the hype surrounding Oscietra, first daughter of Black Caviar to start in a race (she ran third at Flemington on New Year’s Day and hasn’t raced since) but it did create a buzz here.

Heir To The Throne – a two-year-old colt having its first start in the Murphy’s Turf and Landscaping Handicap over 1100m – just happens to be a full brother to 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.

Bred to run further than a dash for cash, the colt still delighted connections by rattling home to finish just 2.4 lengths behind winner Onehundred Percent.

The irony was that Henry Dwyer trained both horses.

Onehundred Percent started at 13/1 and paid $16.70 on Supertab while Heir To The Throne started at a doubting 30/1 and bracketed between them in second and third were the heavily backed Crystal Spirit and Shamport.

After the race Dwyer wasn’t sure which way to turn trying to catch up with two jockeys, media and connections.

“We thought today was going to be a good chance for Heir to have his first run, it’s a great track, nice and open with a good straight,” Dwyer said.

“And he made the most of it, was really coming at the finish,” he said.

“Although Prince of Penzance won over 3200m I think this fellow will peak around 2000m.

“Right now we plan to take him to Adelaide in a couple of weeks for a listed race over 1400m and then give him a break until autumn when I reckon he will be ready to go.”

Still an entire, Dwyer said the horse’s next start would impact on whether he was gelded or not.

He said although the horse trains well he has his moments – one of them when Luke Currie tried to get aboard in the mounting yard on Monday.

“I would love to geld him, but he is very well bred and if he can deliver on his potential we would continue to run him as a colt,” Dwyer added.

“He cost $200,000 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sales in 2016 so there is already a lot invested in him.”

Someone else who was buzzed on Monday was local trainer Rhys Archard, whose six-year-old mare Elle Excite stunned everyone – including Archard – when she won by a half nostril in the $16,000 Ferrari Building & Maintenance Bm58 over 1412m.

Archard admitted while his riding instructions to Harry Coffey were brief – “I just told him to win” – he had no reason to expect the horse to get up.

And her form supported that view.

In her past four starts, between May 11 and June 26, Elle Excite has finished 12th, 10th, seventh and 11th.

“I actually though she had been pipped right on the line by Joe’s Pride,” Archard admitted.

“So she will be back here in a couple of weeks for the Seymour races that have been transferred to Echuca,” he said.

“She has had five or six runs this time in and I think she has a few left in her.”

And he won’t be looking for anything beyond 1412m.

“I reckon that’s her limit,” Archard laughed. “If it had been 1412.1m she would have lost.”

Elle Excite also cost jockey Nikita Beriman a treble in successive races after she had won the Quest Echuca (Bm58) on Cisco Delago and the Echuca Building Centre (Bm58) on Robusta.

Of particular note in those three rides was the first, on Cisco Delago.

Trained at the Echuca stables of Donna Gaskin and Michael Cornish, Delago had been retired and this was the eight-year-old gelding’s first run since finishing sixth on the same track in October 2016.

Article from Riverine Herald