Rhys Radford’s burgeoning training career received another big boost when Great Shot won the Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday, but the young horseman conceded he had major trepidation before tackling the $100,000 feature.
The Cyril Flower Stakes launched Great Shot’s summer and autumn campaign and he appeared on target for his first up assignment after winning a Belmont trial, but Radford’s confidence was shaken after the gelding’s final piece of track work.
“He was going real good and I was quite happy with his trial, but his last gallop before Saturday’s race was a little bit ordinary which is out of character for him,” Radford told TABradio’s The Sports Daily.
“Craig (Staples) came back and said we might have to get Kevin Kelly to have a look at him because something is not right, so Kevin, who is a chiropractor went over and found something with his back and hip.”
Radford and Great Shot combined to win their second feature race after taking out last year’s Belmont Guineas by nearly five lengths.
A delighted Radford said Great Shot had come through the Cyril Flower Stakes in great order after he displayed a lot of courage to outpoint Dream Lifter.
The son of Magnus looked beaten after doing work from a wide gate to sit outside of the leader, but he revealed fighting qualities over the final 50m.
“I was over the moon,” Radford said.
“I thought he had done a little bit of work to get across and at about 200 out I thought they might kick over him, but he kept kicking.
“He has come through real well and I’m really happy.”
Great Shot will target the upcoming Pinjarra Classic (1300m) and Bunbury Stakes (1400m).
He has now won six races from 13 starts with five placings and pocketed nearly $300,000 in stake earnings.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli