By Jon Lees
Australia: Matt Cumani celebrated the biggest win of his training career when Khoekhoe produced a strong late run to capture the A$855,000 (£435,000) The Showdown at Caulfield on Saturday.
The son of Derby-winning trainer Luca Cumani, who is in his fifth season since setting up on his own in Victoria, topped his December success in the Pakenham Cup with Etah James when Khoekhoe (Fred Kersley) got up in the final strides to beat River Night by a head.
The Showdown is a restricted race for two-year-olds by stallions based in Victoria. The colt, who cost A$50,000 (£25,000) and is out of a mare called Walvis Bay which is in Namibia, is named after a Namibian language.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” Cumani told Racing.com. “You dream of a horse like this. To see him do that today is just unbelievable.
“I had two in the race, I was watching both and I didn’t know where to look. I thought Fred was just brilliant on him. He never really panicked, he was just waiting, waiting for the gap and when it came it opened perfectly for him and the horse did the rest.
He continued: “It’s important to have good two-year-olds in Australia and I’ve been trying to prove that we can do it.
“We’ve had stakes winners at two – this isn’t a black type race but it’s worth an awful lot of money – and great to do it.
“This is a horse we bought at the sales as well. We put a lot of work into finding good-value horses, and he had a great pedigree – no black type but lots of winners. He was just a standout horse at the sales and I’m thrilled we got him.”
In the weekend’s feature race in Australia, the Mike Moroney-trained Tofane thwarted last year’s winner Pierata’s attempt to sign off with a second win in the All Aged Stakes when snatching the final G1 of Sydney’s Autumn Carnival by a short head at Randwick. The filly will now be trained for the Everest.
Winning jockey, New Zealander Opie Bosson, was riding the fourth G1 winner of his visit and said he would go home to consider whether to relocate to Australia.
At Morphettville Gytrash, who beat Redzel when a 20-1 winner of the Lightning Stakes in February, ran out a three-length winner of the G3 RN Irwin Stakes beating another one-time Royal Ascot possible Sunlight.