English superhorse Frankel confirmed his status as a stallion of worldwide influence after siring his first Australian Group 1 winner with Mirage Dancer at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Mirage Dancer, ridden by Nash Rawiller, burst between runners to edge out favourite Mugatoo to win the $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m).
On the racetrack, Frankel was without peer remaining unbeaten from 14 starts, including 10 at Group 1 level, to earn the highest Timeform rating of all time. He is having similar success at stud, siring major race winners in Europe and Japan and now Australia.
It looked like Mugatoo would claim The Metrop but @nashhot lifted Mirage Dancer over the line to beat the favourite by the smallest of margins! pic.twitter.com/eZNRjRJjkN
In fact, Frankel very nearly had a Group 1 treble Down Under on Saturday as Hungry Heart ran a close second in the Flight Stakes at Randwick and Finche was narrowly beaten into third placing in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
Natalie Young, who co-trains with her partner Trent Busuttin, said the decision was made to send Mirage Danger to The Metropolitan as the stayer enjoys racing the Sydney direction
“We thought ‘Group 1, Sydney, he goes on that leg’ and it’s $700,000 so we thought ‘why not’,’’ Young said. “Nash (Rawiller) just gave him a peach of a ride and he had a nice draw for a change. It’s amazing.
Mirage Dancer dug deep to defeat Mugatoo in The Metropolitan. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“We thought the Turnbull would have been a bit stronger and we just thought that we wanted to chase that Group 1. He’s a Frankel stallion and he’s now a Group 1 winner in Australia. We were just mindful of that, trying to get a Group 1 on the way through to the Caulfield Cup.”
The Metropolitan produced a memorable finish with Mirage Dancer ($10) edging out Mugatoo ($3 favourite) to win by a long neck with early leader Angel Of Truth ($19) a short neck away third.
Rawiller won his first The Metropolitan with a daring rails-hugging ride.
For just a few strides in the straight, Mirage Dancer was held up for a run but Rawiller eased off heels to find clear galloping room and dived through underneath Mugatoo to win narrowly.
“He travelled like the winner the whole race. Gee he travelled nicely,’’ Rawiller said.
“I had a lot of horse at the home turn and I just sort of got on the right horses back in Tim Clark and Hush Writer and he just took me as far as I needed to go to get out and he did the rest
“The runner-up stole a bit of a march on him, and had his momentum before by bloke had got to his top, but when I did ask him he went through his gears quickly. He is a very good horse.”
Nash Rawiller was back in the Group 1 winner’s circle in The Metropolitan. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Mirage Dancer has 55kg for the $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 but he is eligible for a penalty for his The Metropolitan.
The seven-year-old stayer is now striving to become the third this century to complete The Metroplitan-Caulfield Cup double after Tawqeet (2006) and Railings (2005).
Mirage Dancer did finish third to Japan’s Mer De Glace in the Caulfield Cup last year before finishing 14th in Vow And Declare’s Melbourne Cup and Rawiller believes the imported stayer is a legitimate chance in both races this spring.
“We probably haven’t seen the best of him since Caulfield Cup Day last year,’’ Rawiller said. “On that run he has got to go around in the Melbourne Cup and be a genuine chance.’’
[email protected] caught up with @nashhot after his win aboard Mirage Dancer in The Metropolitan pic.twitter.com/DCOjepOqJB
Kerrin McEvoy, rider of Mugatoo, went very close to completing the Epsom-Metropolitan double after winning the first leg on Probabeel.
“Mugatoo looked the winner until the last little bit – great effort,’’ McEvoy said.
The Team Hawkes-trained Angel Of Truth ran his best race since winning the 2019 ATC Australian Derby, leading most of the way and fighting back hard when challenged by Mirage Dancer and Mugatoo.
“He got a nice time in front and was able to nearly capitalise on that late, it was a massive run,’’ said Tommy Berry, rider of Angel Of Truth.
Originally published asDancer helps Frankel make his mark Down Under
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