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By Graham Potter | Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Another David Vandyke trained runner shed his Maiden ticket at Doomben on April 12 when the lightly raced three-year-old Dark Chill saluted in a QTIS three-year-old Maiden Plate over 1660m.

Punters, again, saw this one coming with Dark Chill going off at a starting price of $1.85.

That was not surprising given Dark Chill’s performances in the lead up to this race ... which was only his third career start.

Coming straight to town, Dark Chill finished a creditable enough fourth on debut when beaten 2.21 lengths by Boom Shot over 1200m at Doomben on March 8 ... and then the son of Dawn Approach posted an improved result when finishing second to Old Song, this time when stepping up the distance to 1650m on heavy going ... again at Doomben ... which was a fair pass mark for an inexperienced runner tackling both a distance and a track surface over which he had not competed before.

So, it was back to Doomben again for his third start ... this time for the win!

Dark Chill got away well at the break, but Jim Byrne was in no rush to press forward, instead settling in fourth place on the rail a little over two lengths off the early leader Half Moon Bay ($10).

For much of the back straight it was literary a bob of the head between Dark Chill and Rally ($31) as to who held fourth or fifth place but, more importantly, the deficit to the lead never changed as Byrne always had Half Moon Bay well within his sights.

The big change to the profile of the race came approaching the 600m mark where Brodie Loy, unhappy with the pace, unleashed the $4.20 second favourite American Jazz, chasing the Anabel Neasham trained runner around the field into a clear lead and asking him to sustain a long run as he continued to try and steal the race on straightening.

As always with such aggressive tactics, Loy was either going to be lauded or criticised depending on the result.

Halfway up the home straight, with Dark Chill momentarily inconvenienced inbetween runners and nothing else making ground at that time, it looked like Loy’s boldness was about to pay dividends, but, once Dark Chill got out and began to quicken alongside Loose Unit ($5), both Dark Chill and Loose Unit fed off each other and both began to accelerate with meaning.

Coming through the 100m mark, it was clear that American Jazz was not going to survive (although he was brave enough to stay on for second place, only going down by 0.71 lengths) as the question now became one of would Dark Chill be strong enough to hold the advantage he had gained on Loose Unit to the line?

That he was ... with Loose Unit in the end actually having to settle for third place, just a whisker behind the game American Jazz as only 0,72 lengths separated these first three runners across the line.

Apart from the ability needed to win the race, Dark Chill’s commitment to the cause over the concluding stages, where it was easier to run a place then win, was a notable aspect of this, his first career success.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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