Ken Rattray is quickly running out of words to describe his stablestar Destreos.
After careful planning, Rattray slipped south of the border with his warrior-like pacer rather than staying local and contesting the Gr.2 $75,000 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park last Saturday night.
Not only was Rattray giving up the opportunity to race for great prizemoney, he was also giving up on Destreos competing at his favourite track.
No horse has won more races at the famed Breakfast Creek racetrack, Destreos has fifty plus victories at Albion Park which has now been in operation for more than thirty-years.
But the planning from Rattray was pin-point accurate.
Destreos thrashed his rivals in the $12,000 FFA at TABCORP Park, Menangle in a time of 1;53.2 while winning by an ever expanding margin of 12.5 metres with regular pilot Kelli Dawson at the controls.
It was his first victory in six starts on the spacious 1400m circuit.
“I really wanted to win a race with him at Menangle and I thought the timing was right. I could’ve stayed and raced here in the Gold Coast Cup but I knew I would be relying on plenty of luck so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of heading south with him and the rest is history.” Rattray said.
Destreos was accompanied south by his good mate Funny Boy, and almost landed Rattray a double at Sydney’s metropolitan venue after running a terrific second behind hot favourite Brave Wiggy in the Mark McDonald 50th Pace earlier in the program.
“Both horses are going really well and I was confident they would both perform, Funny Boy was always making the trip because of a lack of opportunities back home while the bigger races are on and Destreos just did what he does best.
I knew halfway up the long straight that Dexter (Destreos) was going to win, my good friend Doug Spice pat me on the back and I ended up walking back to the stables before he finished because I had so many emotions running through my body.
He’s my champion and I’m so proud of him, he’s been such a great warrior for such a long period of time, his resilience is remarkable and Sally (Stingel – owner) and I owe him so much.”
But the fun isn’t over just yet, the rising 11yo still has plenty of zest for racing and Rattray is now carefully planning his next target.
“I’m sure with meticulous planning I can get another 12 quality months out of him, it’s all about keeping him fit and well while picking the right races for him.
I wasn’t tempted by starting him this weekend in the Queensland Pacing Championship, the distance doesn’t suit him and he deserves a week off after our hit-run mission last week.
He hasn’t left an oat since we got back on Sunday night so I might even look at a few more Sydney trips with him in the future but I’ll let him dictate those plans.”
Destreos is now the winner of 67 races from 281 starts with prizemoney in excess of $515,000.
By Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)