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By Scott Gooley | Saturday, March 30, 2019


Jockey Michael Dee walked away from Bendigo’s stand-alone Saturday meeting today with both feature races safely tucked away in his saddle bag.

Dee piloted the impressive winner of the $250k Gold Rush, Prince Of Sussex, early in the day followed by another big finish aboard Haripour in the Listed $150k, Golden Mile.

Prince Of Sussex showed a very attractive turn of foot when Dee let him go with 300m to run and quickly established a healthy margin that was reduced to 2.25 length on the line, due to Dee allowing the son of Toronado, to cruise the last 50m.

“I think this horse is going to be high class in another six months so to see him perform like that is very exciting," winning trainer Matt Laurie said post-race.

“It's a million dollar race here in Melbourne, it seems the logical race," Laurie said referring to inaugural running of The Showdown at Caulfield, next month.

Haripour victory in the Golden Mile came in only his second start for the Chris Waller stable after being transferred from Darren Weir’s yard earlier this year.
Despite the assessment of the market (Haripour started $19) Dee was always confident in the run that the Irish-bred 5yo gelding, who has now won six of his seventeen starts and amassed just shy of $300k, was always going to be in the finish.

“He travelled beautifully for me throughout and it was a matter of getting to the outside of the horses and working into it when I wanted to,” Dee said.

“He kept building all the way up the straight and it was a very good effort today.”



The track may have caused some concerns – especially early in the day when it appeared leaders were at a distinct advantage – but both Verry Elleegant and Avilus, who started short-priced favourites in the G1 Vinery and Tancred Stakes respectively, were perfectly ridden to victory by James McDonald.

McDonald was quick to praise trainers Chris Waller (Verry Elleegant) and James Cummings (Avilius) but the Kiwi hoop also had each galloper perfectly position throughout, confirming his status as the leading hoop in Sydney.

“"It was a masterstroke putting the ear muffs on … incredible," McDonald said of Waller’s gear change applied to Verry Elleegant.

"I could have had her anywhere, she relaxed so well. But she might need blinkers now. She hits the front and goes left, right - she thinks the job is done."

Verry Elleegant is now the dominant favourite for the ATC Oaks ($2.50) to be held at Randwick on the October 13.

Avilius received an even more glowing report.

"I shouldn't get paid for that one I don't reckon," McDonald said of his first ride on the Godolphin runner.

"I know what all the fuss is about with him now. What a super horse, push-button. He's a pleasure to ride."

Despite being unbeaten in Sydney and having won his last two races under WFA conditions impressively, Cumming indicated they Avilius will not take on Winx in the up-coming Queen Elizabeth Stakes

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