Coffey produces gem on Duke Of Hastings

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  • August 28, 2023
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Affable jockey Harry Coffey was keen to push his case for three votes in the Scobie Breasley Medal voting after a ground-saving ride to land the spoils on Duke Of Hastings in the Ladbrokes Yard Comments Handicap (2500m) at The Valley on Saturday.

The five-year-old son of Sacred Falls came from worse than midfield, but only went around one horse as he went on to win comfortably, from United Nations who followed him through with pacesetter Magnaspin finishing third.

“I was just saying to Mr Montgomery (chief steward) that I would have thought that would be three Scobies the way that ride panned out,” Coffey quipped.

“We had a lovely run, did no work and the horse was too good, so there was a bit of banter with the Chief Steward to let him know to look at the lighter side of life.”

Coffey said the Simon Zahra-trained galloper had been building to a winning performance and he got the race run to suit.

“They went along at a nice gallop and he is a big strong horse who has got really nice staying potential, so that was one thing that aided him, but also it has just taken him a little while to get warm this prep,” Coffey said.

“Last run it looked like he might have been working towards a win and that was definitely the case. We went up 500m in distance and got the job done, so really well done by the stable.

“Sometimes horses that are staying three-year-olds do battle to come back and find form and it looked like for a while that would be the case with this horse, but I think now that he has had today’s win he will really get a lot of confidence and it is a nice time of year for a stayer to be around.

“They were rolling along and there were two of the better front-running riders out in front in Craig Williams and Jordan Childs so even though it was a strong gallop, you know they are going to get their fractions right at some stage.

“In the middle stages we were able to join back in and then everyone left the fence and left a beautiful passage for me to come through, so I couldn’t have asked for a smoother run in transit and that is why he won so well.”

Bred by Blandford Lodge’s Graham and Helen-Gaye Bax, Duke Of Hastings is by Sacred Falls out of the Viscount mare Fairygem.

A half-sister to Group One winner Penny Gem, Fairygem herself won five races including the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Randwick. She is the dam of five winners from seven foals to race, including the Listed-placed Dottie Dee.

Duke Of Hastings was purchased for just $10,000 as a yearling by Peter Franklin’s Cranton Bloodstock from Blandford Lodge’s Book 1 draft at Karaka 2020 and he has continued to furnish, with the handy stayer now the winner of A$210,100 in prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk

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