Early Saturday morning proved to be a successful one with Downdraft running out an easy winner of the LMFM Race over 2400m at Dundalk, Ireland. He scored well under jockey Donnacha O’Brien for his brother and trainer Joseph.
Successful three times last year, Downdraft was last seen winning at Naas in October, and was expected to follow this up, going off a clear favourite at 1/3. Settled in third, he cruised through the small field of four to challenge on the inner from early in the straight. Getting out to the front with over 200m to race and stretched clear in the closing stages, going on to prevail by four lengths.
Donnacha O’Brien said afterwards: “He’s a grand, little horse and skips along that surface. It worked out nicely as the horse that made the running went nice and even for him. It was a lovely race to start off in. “That’s what you’d be hoping (to go for a premier handicap). I think he had a little blowout down the back, so probably fitness-wise there is a bit more improvement in him.”
We have high hopes for this horse leading into the spring 2019 European season with Royal Ascot on the cards for the son of Camelot.
To Flemington in Australia, OTI scored a double at headquarters after first surviving a protest against Fastnet Tempest, who crossed the line leading the field in the Might and Power Handicap over 1410m. Champion trainer David Hayes says he has had to be patient with import Fastnet Tempest and had to wait just a bit longer before the gelding was actually confirmed as the winner.
Fastnet Tempest hit the front passing the 200m and defeated Addictive Nature by a half-head, with Addictive Nature’s jockey Brett Prebble then firing in a protest alleging interference over the concluding stages.
After a deliberation, stewards ruled that even though there was some interference in the final 100m, had that not occurred, Fastnet Tempest still would have finished in front of the runner-up and dismissed the objection.
Fastnet Tempest had not won since the Listed Anniversary Vase at Caulfield in April last year but had placed five times at Listed and Group level since.
“I’ve had to be really patient with him,” Hayes said. “He’s got a great turn of foot, it’s just a matter of timing your run. “He still got there probably a fraction early today, believe it or not. But he was good enough to hang on.”
To round out the day, Mantastic, trained by Chris Waller took victory in the Australian Trainer’s Association Handicap. From the wide draw, Craig Newitt was instructed to drop to the rear of the field and let the horse settle. Finding a lovely rhythm, Mantastic began to edge closer to the outside horses under his own steam and managed to find a horse to give him good drag into the final turn.
Being patient upon straightening, Newitt unleashed Mantastic’s incredible turn of foot and let down strongly to capture the leaders and the win with 1.25 lengths to spare. Recording sub 12-second sectionals from the 800m mark, Mantastic proved he is in fine form and ready to step up to the 2000m.
Congratulations to each of their connections and patience in getting these horses to their winning ways. Onward and upward for the remainder of their campaigns!