HE’S a Chariots Of Fire winner . . . and he’s Miracle Mile bound.
Yet Catch A Wave may have even bigger fish to fry – if that’s possible – following a coup by the major sponsor of last Saturday night’s Chariots Of Fire meeting, Cordina Chicken Farms.
Just an hour before Catch A Wave caused a major upset by defeating Captain Ravishing in the Chariots Of Fire, the Cordina brothers John and Daniel confirmed Catch A Wave would be their representative in the inaugural running of the $2.1million TAB-sponsored Eureka slot race in September.
Then the Andy Gath-trained and Kate Gath-driven Catch A Wave went out and wore down the long odds-on favourite Captain Ravishing to win the $250,000 Group One in a stunning performance.
“We signed the deal just an hour before the race,” said Daniel Cordina, who serves on the committee of Club Menangle.
John Cordina added that a handshake deal had been done with Andy Gath a couple of weeks ago.
“When we knew we wouldn’t get Captain Ravishing, we signed the paperwork before the Chariots,” said John.
“We were hoping he would show he could at least get close to Captain Ravishing, but we never thought he would beat him.
“In the run, I was thinking this is going better than I thought, and then he went past him in the last 50 metres.
“We have sponsored a lot of races, but I think we were smiling as much, if not more, than the connections on Saturday night.”
Catch A Wave joins Captain Ravishing and New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian Derby winner Leap To Fame as confirmed Eureka starters.
“We went into the Eureka because we love the sport, but we want to win it,” Cordina told the Sydney Morning Herald’s Chris Roots.
“He had great form before the Chariots, but he went from outsider to contender with that win.
“The great thing about this horse, he has a great story behind him and someone who really loved harness racing as well.”
Andy Gath explained the emotion attached to Saturday night’s win:
“Richard Matthews had waited his whole life to get a horse like this.
“He’d spent so much money and [put so much] time into the sport for years, and unfortunately, he passed away a few months ago,” Gath said.
“Obviously, Captain Ravishing didn’t go his best, but this horse was super and it’s just a shame Richard wasn’t here to see it.
“He’s the best pacer we’ve had and to sit outside a horse like Captain Ravishing and beat him is a bit surreal.”
Trainer Andy Gath confirmed Catch A Wave would take his place in the Miracle Mile on March 4, which was part of the prize for winning the Chariots Of Fire.
Earlier in the week Captain Ravishing was snapped-up for a slot in the world’s richest harness race.
Passionate Geelong-based owner Danny Zavitsanos and his wife Joanna signed a deal with Captain Ravishing’s owner Hass Taiba for the four-year-old to race in their slot.
It ended weeks of speculation and Taiba said he had been swamped with offers from slot holders.
“It’s been frantic and humbling, to be honest,” Taiba said.
“This horse certainly captured everyone’s attention.
“But I couldn’t think of any one better than Danny to partner with.
“His passion for the sport and doing everything he can to promote its future is amazing.
“It’s great to get a deal done nice and early so it’s out of the way and we can focus on the races he’s got between now and the Eureka.”