In a confident display of riding WA’s oldest jockey, Danny Miller, was prepared to send the tough horse Kirov Boy forward, at the 1400m mark, to challenge for the lead in the Westspeed Stayers Bonus (2100m).
Kirov Boy is trained by veteran trainer Arthur Mortimer (74), who is some eight years older than his jockey, and he was delighted with his chestnut’s finest win.
“He was up in class and hadn’t started for three weeks,” Mortimer said.
It was a case of ‘Dashing Dan’ turning into ‘Daring Dan’ because the pace was solid when he pressed forward, from near the rear. Certainly Lucy Warwick, on pacemaker Rive Gauche, was not about to surrender the lead.
An unperturbed Miller was content to race on the flanks of that grey and while many thought Kirov Boy would be the first to compound on the turn he kept going, easily holding off Hel Cool.
A tiring Rive Gauche was third.
Punters started to clap Miller before he passed the post as veteran race caller Darren McAullay lauded the win in a very descriptive call. Another trainer Toby Roney said it was an exceptional effort. “My bloke (Verdello Blue) just could not go with him down the back.”
Miller had walked the course early Saturday morning to plot a course. It worked. The veteran jockey has won all feature races except a Perth Cup and he considers this galloper as perhaps his final prospect for victory in the traditional stayers race at New Year.
Miller said the chestnut was a tough horse. “I work him regularly and he just keeps going. Others might have thought it was a risky ride but I know this horse and I was never worried.”
Mortimer said his gelding “was now a very good horse” but also said “at one stage he was no good.”
“He wasn’t really much of a sprinter and at one stage Danny said to me he should be sent to Esperance.”
“I turned him out for a year after he developed a limp in a back leg. When he came back he ran a couple of seconds over 1600m and I have stepped him up in distance from there. ”
Kirov Boy has now won four times from 20 starts over the 2000-2200m journey.
Mortimer gives him a lot of lunging work, at home, with Miller riding him at track work a couple of times per week.
Kirov Boy will start again next Saturday and continues to be a work in progress.
by John Elsegood