Sports

Golden Brilliant lands hat-trick

JUST LIKE THE NAME: Jockey David Flores driving Golden Brilliant home with a withering run on the outside to beat Ruapehu for his third successive win in Race 5 on Sunday.

Trainer John O'Hara had his heart in his mouth when odds-on favourite GOLDEN BRILLIANT was posted the widest in the $75,000 Jolie's Shinju 2009 Graduation Stakes over 1,200m on Sunday, but let out a huge sigh of relief when the exciting prospect still landed the top prize.

With his wide draw (eight from eight), the impressive last-start three-and-a-quarter-length winner initially dropped back to the rear, but was soon switched to the outside down the back to settle three to four wide.

O'Hara and most of the backers of the $7 favourite would have been feeling slightly nervous as the leader and second favourite, Ruapehu (Corey Brown), who won easily from start to finish last time out, was having a leisurely time at the head of affairs at a nice tempo.

At the top of the straight, Golden Brilliant swung the widest, and though he was only about three lengths off the leader, he looked like he still had a job ahead with Ruapehu kicking strongly on the fence.

Golden Brilliant's jockey, David Flores, finally went all out from the 300m mark and closed the gap rapidly and got up to score with three parts of a length to spare from a very gallant Ruapehu.

O'Hara might not have given Flores full marks for his ride, but it was the result that counted, despite plotting a road less travelled on the APS & Gloria Stable's galloper.

"The instructions were to get in behind from his wide draw, but they ended up wide throughout. Anyway, he won, which is what matters," said O'Hara, who went on to win the Patron's Bowl on Spalato.

"It goes to show how good this horse is. Even when he was four wide, he still won. I don't have any big plans for him at this stage. Just take it one race at a time."

It was Golden Brilliant's third straight win from just five starts.