“I think I will sleep with her tonight and I am so proud of Shaun, my favourite jockey, he was tremendous.”
That was how an elated Ascot trainer, Paula Wagg, described the emphatic win by Balmont Girl (Shaun O’Donnell) in the Asian Beau Stakes, GroupIII (1400m).
O’Donnell, fresh from his pick-up ride victory on Ideal Image in the previous race, the Burgess Queen Stakes, was at his mercurial best on Balmont Girl.
It was O’Donnell’s third success in the Asian beau, including one with his other great favourite, Luckygray.
Racing midfield early, O’Donnell sent Balmont Girl scooting along the rails in the home straight. The Oaks winning mare responded like the proverbial scalded cat, being too strong for Black Heart Bart and the favourite, Respondent, in the run to the winning post.
Wagg said that based on the mare’s third placing at her last start, when resuming from a spell, she was confident of finishing in the first two in this race.
Balmont Girl is indeed a versatile and in 18 starts has won five races, with seven places, from 1100m-2400m. This has included two Group races and a listed race. She automatically qualifies for the Railway Stakes after her second most important victory.
“I don’t know whether to start her in the RJ Peter’s Stakes or go straight to the Railway, at this stage,” the trainer said.
Wagg even has the option of the Perth Cup, in January, as Balmont Girl has won over the distance.
O’Donnell, always a class act in big races, has had a quiet 2014/15 season, so far, with only four metropolitan winners prior to this great feature double yesterday.