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By Graham Potter | Saturday, May 7, 2022

A week after winning on the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Major Artie on the opening day of the Queensland Winter Carnival at Eagle Farm, jockey Mark Du Plessis scored a second carnival winner when guiding Stardome to victory in the Gold Coast Cup over 2400m at Aquis Park on March 7.

This made Du Plessis one of only three riders (with Jimmy Orman and Ben Thompson) to ride winners at both of the first two carnival fixtures.

After his win on Major Artie Du Plessis has said, “Riding winners for any stable is good, but obviously riding winners for high profile stables get a greater share of attention … and I believe that riding winners for those types of trainers, particularly at this time of year, can give you a real boost. We’ll see how we go.”

Well, Du Plessis’s two carnival winners have now come for the Waterhouse / Bott partnership and for the Chris Waller stable … so it looks like he is going pretty well.

Stardome is a highly consistent Savabeel gelding who keenness to perform to his best can seldom be questioned.

Still six-years-old but a bit of a veteran in terms of the fact he was having his forty-seventh start at the Gold Coast, Stardome went into the Gold Coast Cup having claimed a win, a second and two third placings in his previous four starts … never finishing more than 1.75 lengths back in any of those runs which ranged in distance from 1600m to 2200m.

Up to 2400m for the Gold Coast Cup, Du Plessis was pretty determined to push Stardome ($8) forward early so that the Waller runner could settled into a position close to the speed, and he succeeded in doing that, taking up third place as the field passed the winning post on their first circuit.

Stardome then went back to fourth, a little over two lengths back … but still at a comfortable gallop, as the field went down the back straight.

With Soprano Supreme ($7) moving up a place by staying towards the inside on the turn, Stardome, who was out much wider on the track, cornered in fifth spot, but well poised to challenge.

It was going to be a long slog home though.

At the 200m mark, there were five horses stretched across the track covered by little more than a length and the battle was on in earnest.

Soprano Supreme’s ground saving passage on the turn had helped the mare steal a narrow advantage at that time, but it remained a really pressurised finish and, over the concluding stages Du Plessis’s determined riding and Stardome’s willingness to fight all the way to the line was enough to see the Waller runner hit the lead when it mattered most to secure his eighth career victory by a half length margin.

This was Du Plessis’s second win from four rides on Stardome and, interestingly enough, the first win came just a touch over a year ago, when the duo won over 2200m at Doomben on April 24, 2021.

Rides for trainer Chris Waller are a hard-earned commodity and you have to take the opportunity to impress when you get one … and nothing impresses like winning, so this was a very good result indeed.

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Photos: Darren Winningham
Photos: Darren Winningham
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