STAR three-year-old The Lost Storm added some more excitement to the looming $2.1m TAB Eureka with a stunning win in last night’s $150,000 Ladbrokes Queensland Derby.
The youngster gave his trainer Emma Stewart a landmark victory as it was Stewart’s 3000th training win – an extraordinary feat for the 41-year-old Victorian trainer.
Yet it was the ease of The Lost Storm’s win which had her and reinsman Mark Pitt on cloud nine as they prepare for their biggest test yet – success against some gun four-year-olds in Australia’s richest-ever harness race in September.
Seldom has there been an easier Group 1 victory as The Lost Storm careered away in the straight last night to defeat $151 outsider Wisper A Secret (Chantal Turpin) and another Victorian visitor in Dougs Platter (Anthony Butt).
The Lost Storm won by a widening 16.5m margin, rating a 1:55.2 mile rate over the testing 2680m journey.
“This horse has really enjoyed his time up here in the Queensland sunshine,” said reinsman Mark Pitt as he returned to a rousing reception from the big crowd, who had turned out mainly to watch their own champion Leap To Fame do battle later in the night in the $400,000 Blacks A Fake.
“He’s a pretty cool dude, this horse and I always thought he’d have no problem getting the 2600m trip.
“He’s such a great colt – and he did that with ease.
“The great thing about him is you can chase him up out of the mobile and then he’ll just drop the bit and settle beautifully.
“You never know how races like this are going to go until you are out there and in the thick of it.
“But I couldn’t hold him any slower in that last lap and I reckon had I pulled the plugs and chased him up he could have gone even quicker, had that been required.
“He’s something special. I can’t wait for the Eureka now, it’s such a thrill to even be a part of a race like that.
“I really think he can mix it with the best of them. I can’t wait.”
Stewart, too, showed more emotion than she usually does.
The laid-back trainer explained that she always knew The Lost Storm was something special.
“He’s pretty casual, but he’s also very smart,” she said.
“He just takes everything in that’s going on around him and he handles it all.
“Ability-wise, he right up there with the best horses we have trained.
“He’ll fly home to Victoria now and we’ll keep him ticking over and get ready for the Eureka.
“I’m as excited as I’ve ever been going into a race like The Eureka. It’s really going to be something special for everyone involved.”