“I’M still not a big fan of him, but I guess I like him more now.”
That’s trainer Clayton Harmey’s frank assessment of Kanye Crusader follow his victory in the Hunter Region Championship in Newcastle just moments ago.
Entered into the series as “the stable joke”, Kanye Crusader – or Clive as he is known around the stable – has had the last laugh by becoming a Group One winner at $17 on the Tote.
“I had Western Heir and Straddie set for this series and felt they were my best two hopes,” Harmey explained. “One day I said I will put Clive in as the stable joke.
“I bred him and he showed bit of promise early on at two, but when he got to the track was he useless, wouldn’t try and disappointed me.
“He wasn’t much better at three so moved him on for a bit and after he came home I put him in a paddock for three or four months.
“This season he hadn’t really shown a lot more, but then all of a sudden in this series he has come out of the ground.
“He went the best he has in his heat and even better in the Final…who knows, this may be the making of him.
“I’m still not a big fan of him, but I guess I like him more now.”
Driven by Jack Callaghan, Kanye Crusader was surged forward to find the lead from barrier four as Master Catch worked hard on his outside.
With the pair matching strides along the home straight, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven dug deep to score by a half-neck from Master Catch, which was driven by Callaghan’s father, Mark.
In a ‘blanket finish’, Hazelnuts was a half-neck third in 1:58 over 2030 metres.
“He fought on so well up the straight,” Harmey said. “He broke a hopple at the start, but still did everything right.
“That’s a first Group One win for Jack and I and I’m rapt for him to drive it.
“Blake Hughes drove him in the heat, but missed out on the Final because he doesn’t have an A-grade licence, so it’d be nice to win another one with Blake some day.”