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    When the chips were down, they couldn’t beat ‘The Banta’ When the chips were down, they couldn’t beat ‘The Banta’

    GOING GREAT GUNS: Bar Room Banta

     IT takes a brave punter to ever write off Luke McCarthy in a major race. And the premier reinsman showed why with a majestic... When the chips were down, they couldn’t beat ‘The Banta’

     IT takes a brave punter to ever write off Luke McCarthy in a major race.

    And the premier reinsman showed why with a majestic effort to win the $150,000 Breeders Challenge for three-year-old colts and geldings with Bar Room Banta at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight.

    When Bar Room Banta drew the extreme outside barrier (10) in tonight’s final, he eased in the betting as Titian Raider and Captain Crusader jostled for favouritism.

    Yet it was McCarthy at his best and Bar Room Banta showed he was up with the best, adding to his two-year-old Breeders Challenge win to score a four-and-a-half metre win over the plucky Titian Raider (Glen McElhinney), with Kashed Up (Bernie Hewitt) a battling third in a 1:50.7 mile rate.

    “He was just super tonight,” grinned McCarthy.

    “Last week he went 1:50 flat sitting outside them and he worked like a jet on Thursday so we knew he was ready to fire.

    “I was hoping Titian Raider and Captain Crusader might cut at each other a bit early to give us a better chance of winning.

    “But this bloke did it the hard way and was still able to get the job done.

    “His trainer Michael Stanley has done a great job with this horse.

    “He did win the Breeders Challenge last year but he has had a few problems with him since then and it took him a while to get him right.

    “But he’s come back super and really did the job in style tonight.”

    McCarthy obviously loves these Group 1s . . . that was his 13th Breeders Challenge success and there were few excuses for the beaten brigade as Luke again showed why he’s the best in the business when the big races roll around.

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    Michael Court

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