“For a young horse to cop that pressure and keep going, I’m over the moon,” declared a delighted breeder-owner-trainer Shane Quadrio after Bushwacked set the pace and fought on grandly to win the $50,000 Group 2 Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Bushwacked, third favourite at $6.40 from the No. 1 barrier, survived considerable pressure from $7.50 chance Battlescard, who overraced in the breeze, and went on to defy a powerful late challenge from $4.80 second fancy Whataretheodds to defeat that gelding by a head at a 1.57.2 rate over 2130m.
Bushwacked, driven with great confidence by Kyle Harper, emerged as a leading contender for the upcoming rich classics for two-year-olds, including the $100,000 Pearl Classic, the $100,000 Westbred Classic and the $125,000 Golden Slipper.
“He will be set for those events, but I won’t be overracing him because he’s not mentally ready or physically mature enough to race week-in and week-out,” said Quadrio.
“His body needs to mature a bit and we will assess his options as we go along. I’m happy with the way he is going at the moment. He will mature into a better horse when he gets older.
“It was a sensational run tonight after his work during the week was sensational. I know that at his previous start (when he led and won over 1730m) he got away with easy sectionals, and my son Dylan and I gave him a hard workout the day after that event because he did nothing in that win.
“We were very confident going into tonight’s race after the way Bushwacked worked during the week when Dylan drove Bushwacked and I sat behind him with an older horse, and I couldn’t get anywhere near Bushwacked.”
The Ryan Bell-trained Whataretheodds gave a splendid performance at his first appearance for two months. He was seventh in the one-wide line at the bell before sustaining a spirited three-wide burst to fail by just a head. Tomlous Jambo, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing solidly to be a close third.
Rock On Top, favourite at $3.20 from out wide at barrier No. 7, raced at the rear and did not threaten danger, finishing in sixth position.
Meanwhile, Quadrio’s brilliant three-year-old filly Black Jack Baby is enjoying a brief spell after her shock failure when leading before fading to tenth behind Benesari Lane in the WA Oaks on April 9.
“The day after the Oaks I sent Black Jack Baby to Trevor Lindsay’s spelling paddock, and he telephoned me the next day to tell me that she was as lame as a cat,” Quadrio said. “She had a bad abscess in the rear offside hoof, and it was no wonder she couldn’t run on at the end of the Oaks because she was in such pain. I’m not using that as an excuse but would have been a factor in her performance.”
by Ken Casellas