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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Cordero, a gift pacer and a metropolitan maiden performer, caused oner of the most remarkable upsets in West Australian harness racing history when he charged home with a spirited sprint to get up and win the $30,000 APG’s Massive $3.2m Pot Of Gold Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

In what was almost a spectacular triple dead-heat, Cordero, a $119.50 outsider, snatched victory by a nose from superstar Chicago Bull, with star five-year-old Patronus Star a nose away in third place.

The magnitude of this most unexpected result is illustrated in the fact that Cordero was racing completely out of his class without a city-class win and with a record of eight wins from 58 starts for earnings of $64,144, and was competing against eight rivals who, between them, had won 188 races and amassed $5,017,291 in prizemoney.

Owner-trainer Trevor Wright, whose previous metropolitan-class win was with Go West U Terror on March 11, 2016, was challenging outstanding and highly successful trainers in Gary Hall snr, Greg and Skye Bond, Ray Williams and Stephen Reed.

And Cordero’s victory did not come as a surprise for the 68-year-old Wright, who said that the six-year-old was a certainty beaten in considerably weaker company the previous Friday night when the gelding met with severe interference approaching the home turn when sustaining a powerful finishing burst. He was retired from the event won by Blitzembye, with Wright cursing his bad luck.

It was incomprehensible to even suggest that Cordero could get near Chicago Bull, the $1.85 favourite who went into the race with a record of 62 victories and $2,387,568 in stakes. Or that he could match strides with such talented performers as Patronus Star, Mighty Conqueror, Galactic Star, Bletchley Park, To Fast To Serious and Golden State, and, to a lesser degree, Roman Art.

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis gave Cordero (who had drawn out wide at barrier seven) every chance by racing three back on the pegs in fifth position while the polemarker Patronus Star ($2.90) was setting a fast pace, with Chicago Bull racing in the breeze.

Cordero was under lock and key in fifth place with 300m to travel before Lewis was able to ease him off the pegs at the 220m mark. Cordero was fourth 60m from the post before he flew home to snatch first prize.

Chicago Bull was eased from behind Patronus Star 600m after the start when Aldo Cortopassi dashed forward with To Fast To Serious and was threatening to keep the champion in a pocket. Chicago Bull fought on with typical grim determination to get his nose in front of Patronus Star in the final couple of strides before Cordero got up to stun the big crowd.

“I didn’t mind racing Cordero in top company,” said Wright. “He has been racing well and should have won last week.”

The shock victory provided Wright with one of the biggest moments in his 52-year career as a trainer after he had enjoyed an apprenticeship under the guidance of former champion trainer-reinsman Phil Coulson when his Wembley stables included champions Binshaw and Juniors Image.

In the 1980s Wright prepared Grenadier Air for 22 wins, and since then his major successes as an owner, trainer and driver have been with 33/1 outsider Motorpower Lady in the $45,000 Pink Diamond Classic for three-year-old fillies in June 1994 and Scarlet In Black, a filly he bred and won the $60,000 State Sires Series final for three-year-olds in June 1998.

Cordero is by the American sire Western Terror and out of former star Safely Kept mare Innocent Eyes, who was retired with a marvellous record of 62 starts for 18 wins, 17 placings and $421,875 in prizemoney.

Her wins included four group 1 events, the Victorian and Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley in July 2005, the Chariots of Fire at Harold Park in January 2006 and the Vicbred Super Series final for mares at Moonee Valley in April 2006.

Bryan Cousins, who bred and owned Innocent Eyes, bred Cordero, who was most disappointing at her debut, at Pinjarra on April 16, 2018 when she was a $104 outsider and finished last, 109 metres behind the winner Valbonne.

After that, Cousins gave Cordero to Wright as a gift. Cordero was like his dam, small of stature.

“When I started working Cordero he was very slow and I was disappointed,” said Wright. “But when I put him up against other horses, he raised the bar and became very competitive.”

Wright finally gave Cordero his second start in a race, at Busselton on January 17, 2020 (21 months after his debut). Cordero finished an inconspicuous sixth before gradually finding some form and winning at Bunbury five starts later. Since that victory Cordero chalked up five wins at Pinjarra and two in country-class events at Gloucester Park before his great moment of triumph on Friday night.

Cordero, who rated 1.56.4 over 2536m on Friday night, with final quarters of 27.7sec. and 28.2sec. now boasts a record of nine wins, 15 placings and $82,279. His defeat of Chicago Bull was an amazing feat — coming eight starts after his first outing in his current campaign, when he started from the 50m mark, stood flat-footed at the start and finished seventh and last, a massive 167 metres behind the winner Our Boy Archie.