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By Graham Potter | Sunday, October 15, 2023

The ‘old’ partnership came up trumps when the David Vandyke trained, Ryan Maloney ridden, Island Tide turned the tide on her fortunes to claim her first career success in a Maiden Plate over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on October 15.

Maloney, who was very much an integral part of the success of several of the Vandyke trained winners over recent years, had been riding in Sydney for the two-and-a-half months since the start of the new season, and his return into the Queensland fold instantly reestablished the trainer-jockey combination’s winning ways.

Island Tide, a four-year-old daughter of All Too Hard, transferred to the Vandyke stable (from David Atkins) in mid-year, bringing a record of three second place and two third place finishes from eight runs with her … and that trend continued in the initial stages with her new stable when she filled the runner-up position in three of her first four starts in Queensland.

The last two results there though … in which she finished less than a length off the winner … did suggest she was getting closer to the win, and that hint of what was to come proved spot on when Island Tide powered home to score in a most convincing style by a 3.50 length margin in this latest assignment.

In fact, it was that easy, there was no stress in it at all … which is what you could justifiably expect from horse marked up as a $1.14 favourite, with the odds of her seven rivals stretching all the way from $11 to $101.

Maloney sent Island Tide straight into a 1.50 length lead early on … a lead he stretched to two lengths at the point of the turn, seemingly without any undue effort.

That pattern continued all the way up the home straight with Island Tide extending his advantage to just under five lengths at the 150m mark, before Maloney eased his mount down late with the race well and truly won, long before they passed the post.

Island Tide was the first leg of a home track double for David Vandyke on the day.

In the very next race, just forty minutes later, the Vandyke stable put a second winner on the scoreboard.

This time it was the well-performed Mintaka Lad who did the honours, also as a short-priced favourite, in a Class 2 Handicap over 1200m.

A lightly raced four-year-old, Mintaka Lad was first-up here after a four month break from race action. He had finished second in a trial a montb earlier and he had won twice from his five previous starts, a combination of factors which encouraged bookmakers to keep him very safe in the betting at $1.50 with only one other runner quoted in single figures … that aspect of it being very similar to the Island Tide scenario.

The run too had certain similarities to Island Tide’s effort, but this time the finish would be a tighter.

With Justin Huxtable in the saddle, Mintaka Lad went out chasing for the lead from the jump. With the $18 chance Speed Map also vying for the leading position, Mintaka Lad had to work harder than he would have liked to in the early part, but he duly found the lead after 400m … and he did it pretty comfortably from there until he brought the field into the home straight holding a two length advantage.

Huxtable sat still until just inside the 200m mark where he got more vigorous in the saddle, initially stretching Mintaka Lad’s advantage marginally … but he now had a wall of runners in full cry behind him, the best of which, the $10 chance Flying Idol, closed to within 0.80 lengths at the line … but without ever seriously threatening the Vandyke trained runner who stayed on well to the line under the steadying burden of 59kg … 3kg more than the weight carried by the runner-up.

For Mintaka Lad, winning first-up when you might just having needed the run is a big positive and a fifty percent strike-rate (that’s three wins from six starts) also ticks a huge box in terms of a horse knowing what it takes to win.

More articles

Ryan Maloney ... back in Queensland ... back in the winners' enclosure with David Vandyke
Ryan Maloney ... back in Queensland ... back in the winners' enclosure with David Vandyke
Justin Huxtable ... he rode the second leg of Vandyke's home track double

Photos: Graham Potter
Justin Huxtable ... he rode the second leg of Vandyke's home track double

Photos: Graham Potter
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