After a rare blank day at a Melbourne metropolitan meeting on Saturday's richly endowed Caulfield card, the Darren Weir winner factory cranked back into production on Anzac Day, the champion trainer teaming up with rider Damian Lane to land a Flemington hat-trick.
The day got off to a great start with the pair landing the opening event, the 2530-metre Peter Armytage Handicap, with that tough and consistent galloper Gallic Chieftain. The $4.60 second pick performed much better than the market leader, Lloyd Williams import Sherlock Holmes, who went off as the $2.60 favourite.
Gallic Chieftain is a horse with good ability who has found it difficult to win in recent times, at least in this sort of company, but a good barrier and a fine ride by Lane ensured he took the prize.
Darren Weir is all smiles after Think Bleue’s win on Wednesday.
The duo made it two for the afternoon four races later when the well-supported Think Bleue ($2.90), a daughter of that marvellous racehorse So You Think, landed the 1720-metre William Newton Handicap for three-year-olds.
Lane brought up his and Weir's hat-trick in the penultimate event of the day when he produced the promising Iconoclasm to win the 1400-metre Auckland Racing Club Trophy, another three-year-old handicap.
Again punters were on the mark, sending in the son of Toorak Toff as a well-backed $2.60 favourite. The treble paid just over 33-1 for those lucky enough to link them in multiples.
All three will press on through the late autumn, and Gallic Chieftain could step out again next week in the Warrnambool Cup. Shayne Driscoll, representing winning owners OTI, said a decision would be made in the next few days on whether the son of Tamayuz would go to the provincial Victorian carnival.
Weir is likely to send Think Bleue to Adelaide for the South Australian Oaks, a group 1 test in which she will be accompanied by stable companions Pleasuring and Sopressa, a last-start winner in South Australia in the group 3 Schweppervescence Stakes.
Iconoclasm had been due to run in South Australia in a listed contest but Weir opted for this race instead. Now he will be tried in higher grade.
It wasn't just a day to remember for Weir.
Caulfield handler Colin Little can't remember the last time he saddled a winner at as big a price as the $101 shot Vassilator, who took out the listed Anzac Day Stakes for Beau Mertens.
The son of up-and-coming NZ-based stallion Zacinto only cost $25,000, but he is worth a fair bit more after his unexpected success.
''It was a bit hard to say he would come here and win, but I said [to the owners] you won't be disappointed so I hope they took it as you could win. When he quickened at the top of the straight I thought, 'mmm he's going to be in this,' '' the veteran handler said with a grin.
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