Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Maddison Brown was seen at her best when she drove Diego and Gambit to victory in successive events at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Brown remained cool and composed and did not panic after unsuccessful bids for the early lead with both New Zealand-bred six-year-olds.
Diego, the $1.50 favourite, was first out from the No. 2 barrier in the 2130m Leading Tipster Matt Young Pace, but the polemarker Tyler Brett ($4.20) resisted the strong challenge, leaving Diego in the breeze.
Diego began to race a bit fiercely, but Brown has able to get the gelding to relax and drop back a couple of lengths behind the pacemaker before obtaining the one-out, one-back trail after Nota Bene Denario had dashed forward to race in the breeze after a lap had been covered.
Brown sent Diego forward, three wide, with 300m to travel and the gelding forged to the front at the 90m and won by a metre from $15 chance Will I Rocknroll, who was sixth at the bell and finished with a powerful five-wide burst.
Diego, a winner at three of his 17 New Zealand starts, has shone under trainer Gary Hall’s care and has a WA record of 11 wins and eight placings from 39 starts.
“Diego went great,” said Hall. “To burn like that early and still run on at the finish was outstanding.”
Hall was also full of praise for Gambit, the $1.70 favourite, who failed in a bid for the early lead and then was able to relax in the breeze for Brown before finishing strongly to get to the front 110m from the post and win by two lengths from the pacemaker Double Up ($3.40) in the 2130m Most Winners In A Night Co-winner Ken Casellas Pace.
“He was outstanding, and I think he will be able to measure up in open class,” said Hall.
Hall said that both Diego and Gambit had the ability to contest the $50,000 Pinjarra Cup on March 7 and the $50,000 Bunbury Cup on March 26.