Haut Brion Her enhanced her growing reputation and gave champion jockey Blake Shinn a farewell Sydney winner at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The race billed as a match between Haut Brion Her and Sir Elton turned into a one-act affair as the filly careered away to win the Book Spring Hospitality Handicap (1200m).
Shinn was riding in Sydney for the last time before leaving to take up a riding contract in Hong Kong and continued his brilliant form with his 16th winner for the month.
“It’s good to go out a winner and although I realise Hong Kong is going to be very tough, I’m looking forward to the challenge of testing myself over there,’’ Shinn said.
“But you haven’t heard the last of me, I hope to be back for some of the bigger races later in the year and you haven’t heard the last of Haut Brion Her – she’s a very good filly.’’
Haut Brion Her ($3.40) shared the lead with hot favourite Sir Elton ($1.65) to the turn but sprinted clear under hands-and-heels riding to score by more than two lengths. Misteed ($10) got up for second, a short half head in front of Sir Elton.
Sir Elton was protecting his unbeaten record and one punter had a huge wager of $20,000 at $1.65 on the sprinter but he became the third successive favourite to be rolled at Randwick.
However, unlike Mandela and Healing Hands (who later was found to have bled) it was difficult to find any excuses for the sprinter. Hall of Fame jockey Hugh Bowman maintains Sir Elton should not be judged harshly for the defeat.
“Sir Elton travelled well enough for me but obviously he didn’t let go as well as he did the other day,’’ Bowman said. “Whether that was because he had come to the end of it this preparation or was intimidated a bit by the other horse is hard to say.
Haut Brion Her, named after a French wine, improved her record to three successive wins (and a debut second) from just four starts. Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller said Haut Brion Her showed quality to race with and then get the better of Sir Elton.
“We knew we had to make Sir Elton work to get the better of him as he has a good turn of foot,’’ Waller said. “Blake threw the challenge out at the top of the straight and Haut Brion Her was too good.
“She is a well-bred filly and those horses that show ability, if you give them a bit of time they continue to improve. The owners have been very patient and she is very promising and hopefully can measure eup to some better races in the spring.’’ – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.