NEW Zealand trainer Kevin Myers’ selective raid on Australian races paid handsome dividends yesterday when veteran stayer Crocodile Canyon scored an upset win in the $60,000 Hamilton Cup (2200m).
Myers, who isn’t racing horses in his homeland because of poor returns, was delighted with the eight-year-old’s first-up run in Australia to surge to victory.
“He was ready.”
On paper it didn’t look that way and punters agreed with Crocodile Canyon’s last race start in New Zealand six weeks ago. That was his first run since May and saw him start an $18 chance.
Myers, who trains out of Paddy Payne snr’s Ballarat stables, said the Ballarat Cup on November 25 could become the gelding’s next aim.
Crocodile Canyon was at the tail of the field for most of the race, pulling badly for jockey Craig Robertson for much of the run.
“That’s how you have to ride him (back in the field). Ride for luck,” Myers said.
Robertson timed his ride well in what was a strangely-run race.
The John McArdle-trained Methuselah led early before Mauritius sprinted to the front at the 1100-metre mark and Daniel Moor took his mount Emblem of Liberty to the front 700m from home.
The Aaron Purcell-trained Streaky Fella ($8) finished third.
Hamilton Racing Club manager John Donnelly said the first Hamilton Cup to be held away from its traditional April date in more than 60 years was a success.
With 1400 people attending the last April running of the race earlier this year, he said a crowd of about 1700 or 1800 had filed through the gates yesterday.
“It was a mixed bag,” he said. “The committee is happy with the crowd but for the nice day we thought we might have got a few more.”
“All the numbers I’ve got, and they aren’t finalised, are better than April,” he said.
“I’m happy with the off-course turnover, happy with the on-course turnover and the bars. It’s a day we are just going to have to work out and get people used to the Hamilton Cup being the day after the Cox Plate.
“It can only get better.”