IT was a night when big brother stood tall.
Boom pacer Leap To Fame was beaten in tonight’s $400,000 The Blacks A Fake at Albion Park.
Yet he was far from disgraced – and there were excuses as his big brother Swayzee led most of the way for Cameron Hart and Jason Grimson in scoring a commanding victory.
The $2.1m The Eureka at Menangle in September just became even more intriguing as Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave also went under, albeit narrowly, in a race at Melton.
And Leap To Fame’s defeat after dragging a damaged wheel in the last lap after racing without cover for much of the race, only added to the mystique around the richest-ever race to be run at Menangle in a few weeks’ time.
Throw in the commanding victory by The Last Storm in the Queensland Derby tonight and the anticipation for the Eureka is quite unbelievable.
The Blacks A Fake became the eighth Group 1 victory for Sydney-based trainer Jason Grimson and as gun reinsman Cameron Hart explained as he returned to a mixed reception following the superstar Leap To Fame’s defeat:
“Jason has really unlocked the ability of this horse and now he’s starting to reap the rewards,” said Hart after Swayzee defeated Leap To Fame and Hot And Treacherous in a 1:54.9 mile rate.
“I can’t believe this.
“Winning this race last year was a huge thrill but this horse was just super tonight and really he’s just a pleasure to drive.”
Hart was confident he had his rivals done when he kicked away on the home turn and defied all attempts to run him down.
“He can be a funny horse so you have to keep him focused,” he said.
“We nearly got beaten in the Goulburn Cup because he switched off a bit so I wanted to keep him focused tonight.
“He’s such a strong horse so I had him out and running early tonight.
“When Leap To Fame got to our wheel, I was thinking to myself ‘well, the two brothers are in for one hell of a fight tonight’.
“But we were travelling that well, I was confident we could keep them at bay.”
A replay of the race showed the trouble that Leap To Fame was in as the wheel and tyre became damaged in that last lap.
The champ’s reinsman Grant Dixon was forced to lean away putting his weight onto his right wheel to take weight away from the damaged rim.
While Leap To Fame never shirked his task, it was made that much more difficult after racing without cover for most of the journey, then having to deal with a broken wheel as he tried to take ground off Swayzee.
No doubt there will be more clashes between these two brothers – both out of former star mare Lettucereason, somewhere down the track.