By Jon Lees
Australia: Ireland’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins denied Joseph O’Brien a second success at the Spring Carnival when True Self completed back-to-back wins of the G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The mare had missed the cut by one for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup but gained some consolation with a length defeat of Pondus, who raced in the Twilight Payment colours of Lloyd Williams.
Ridden by Hugh Bowman for owners the OTI Partnership and Three Mile House, the seven-year-old had to wait for a gap to open before bursting clear to win easing down to complete another Irish one-two at Flemington.
True Self earned A$120,000 (£66,000) for the victory, plus a A$200,000 (£110,000) bonus for winning after being balloted out of the Cup.
Bowman said: “There wasn’t much room, but I had plenty of energy left, this filly did, and I was able to balance her up and get through there, she sprinted pretty quickly. The slow pace actually suited us to be honest. Once she got clear running she was dominant.
“She’s a horse more known for her turn of foot than her stamina and Dave Casey gave me a good explanation of the way to ride her. I gave her a pretty similar ride to what Ryan (Moore) gave her last year and she’s delivered the goods once again.”
True Self had contested the Caulfield Cup in a bid to secure a definite Melbourne Cup start but finished 13th, missing out on the Spring feature for the second year running.
Mullins’s assistant David Casey said: “Willie would be delighted. We were a little bit disappointed at Caulfield but were delighted to come back here and win.
“The draw on the day at Caulfield looked good but it was the ninth race on the day and it just got a bit chopped up on the inside. And I think that we didn’t have her fit enough as we could have. I think she came forward plenty for here and her work during the week was very positive.”
True Self will return to Ireland, according to OTI general manager Shayne Driscoll, speaking on Channel 10.
“We were a little bit disappointed to come back two years in a row and finish 25th in the order for the Melbourne Cup, but on both times she’s been able to grab us some consolation. A terrific effort by the mare.
“She’ll definitely go home. Her future is in England and Ireland as a broodmare so she’s going on a plane back.”