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By Graham Potter | Friday, August 27, 2021

Following the stable’s double at Rockhampton with Night Express and Blackboots on August 19, the David Vandyke stable had a week of results which, while fair enough in themselves, had a touch of added frustration to them that any series of runner-up finishes would bring. In fact, of the six runners sent out by Vandyke from August 20 until August 28, the stable scored three seconds, a third and two fourth places.

The runners involved in all of the runner-up finishes (You’re Next, Smart Star Prince and Wheels) all finished within half a length of the winners of their respective races and only one of the six runners finished more than 1.50 lengths back … so, in one sense, while there was no cigar, it could be argued that the stable was warming up for better things to come.

That argument proved to be sound when Vandyke unleashed in no uncertain terms at the Gold Coast on August 27 … where the stable landed three winners from only four starters.


The first of those winners was Rapaport, a very lightly raced five-year-old bay gelding who had only had one previous start going into the Gold Coast race and that was as far back as November 15, 2020, when he won on debut over 2200m at Waverley.

Nine months later the son of Shamexpress was first up over 1800m in a Class 1 Handicap where he was well supported, starting favourite at $2.

Jockey Ronnie Stewart took Rapaport to the front from the break and ran the race to suit himself from there. Off the home turn Rapaport had Real Divine ($15) threatening along his outside, while Edification was also making a strong forward move from behind to move into third place.

Down the straight and Rapaport kept holding Real Divine at bay, but Edification was now looming as a real menace along the inside and these two runners matched strides over the concluding stages with, to many, Edification seeming to have his head in front on the line.

That was also the view of the commentor who called, ‘Jaden Lloyd in the Jaden Lloyd … won the money.’ That was a reference to the fact that the race was named the Jaden Lloyd 20/21 Premier Apprentice Class 1 Handicap and that, to his eye, Jaden Lloyd had just won the race named after him aboard Edification.

But while most people who had watched the race endorsed that outcome … the connections of Edification were already in full celebration mode in the grandstand … the story was not over yet. On watching the replay from the ground camera position, the commentator had to interrupt himself … with, “Oh! Wait! Watch this!”

And the rest, as they say is history as, after a photo-finish was called for, it was Rapaport’s number that went up as the winner … thus taking his record to two wins from two starts.

Oh, and that’s not a knock on the commentator. Almost everybody in the grandstand called it the same way.


The three-year-old gelding Whitewater ($3.30) was the Vandyke stable’s second winner on the day in a Maiden Plate over 1200m … and this time no photo finish was required.

Drawn very wide, jockey Kyle Wilson-Taylor eased Whitewater forward in measured fashion in the early part. The son of Headwater was always near the speed, but he was also held three wide until being able to improve and move up into prime position, one out and almost alongside the leader Devastating, the $2.60 favourite, in the sweep to the turn.

Then, in the home straight, Whitewater advanced quickly to join direct issue with Devastating and that became a real two-horse contest until the 150m where Whitewater quietly asserted his authority over the now tiring frontrunner to ease away for a win that was more comfortable than the one length margin of victory suggests.

Kirkeby ($10) finished best of the rest to take second spot away from Devastating who had to be content with third place.

Like Rapaport, Vandyke’s earlier winner, this was also only a second career start for Whitewater. He had previously finished second to Quackery on debut on July 21 in a Maiden over 1200m at the Sunshine Coast.


For a trainer to win three races at one meeting is a big day out and, when the winner who completes the treble is also winning a feature race of note … well, that is just the cream on the top.

Desert Lord did just that for the David Vandyke stable when taking out the Listed Martin Collins Goldmarket.

Going into the race Desert Lord was already a seven time winner and had been placed in Listed company (in the Glasshouse) and his chance of success here was duly acknowledged on the betting boards where he started the $3.70 second favourite.

Jockey Michael Cahill settled Desert Lord in fifth place, in midfield, tracking his former stable companion Alligator Blood every step of the way in the first half of the race as the $3.60 favourite racecourse Road and EF Troop ($8.50) went out at a cut-throat speed at the head of affairs.

In the approach to the turn Cahill angled Desert Lord out to the point where he straightened some four wide before shifting slightly wider again in the straight.

With the chase now well and truly on, Cahill allowed Desert Lord to go through his gears and the High Chaparral gelding didn’t hesitate, building race winning momentum that ultimately took him past Totally Charmed ($10), who had hit the front just inside the 200m, and Tramonto, who had got first run on Desert Lord down the centre of the track.

There was of course a sub-plot to the race with the David Vandyke stable taking on the stable’s former star performer Alligator Blood, who moved out of the stable many months before.

But that’s another story … and that story can be found here

More articles

Connections celebrate Desert Lord's win in the Goldmarket
Connections celebrate Desert Lord's win in the Goldmarket
Desert Lord goes clear to win
Desert Lord goes clear to win
Ronnie Stewart was very happy to get Rapaport home in a deceptive finish that had many racegoers calling the wrong horse as the winner
Ronnie Stewart was very happy to get Rapaport home in a deceptive finish that had many racegoers calling the wrong horse as the winner
That's how close it was
That's how close it was
All is well that ends well. Rapaport pictured in the winner's enclosure
All is well that ends well. Rapaport pictured in the winner's enclosure
Whitewater ... on his own at the line

Photos: Graham Potter
Whitewater ... on his own at the line

Photos: Graham Potter
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