Doyle lands PM's Cup with Dancer
GOLD Coast trainer Noel Doyle provided the first ‘home town’ victory in the remodelled Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup when Celtic Dancer prevailed in a desperate finish to today’s $175,000 sprint.
The Prime Minister’s Cup was switched to a 1300m sprint in 2006 after being a staying contest since it was introduced in 1974.
No Gold Coast sprinter had been able to land the prize since 2006 until today when Celtic Dancer ($26) just held off classy Melbourne mare Mid Summer Music ($3.10 fav) by a head. Phelan Ready ($8) rattled home late to finish a length away in third.
Doyle said he was confident Celtic Dancer had a realistic winning chance in today’s heavy conditions at the Gold Coast.
“He failed on a heavy track at Doomben a few starts back but it was like glue there that day,’’ he said.
“This track today is completely different - horses can get through it okay. He won at 80-1 here last year in similar conditions.’’
Doyle said he got a bit nervous at the finish when Mid Summer Music made a final dive at Celtic Dancer right on the line.
“I thought she may have got us right on the line,’’ he said. “It’s happened to me before in good races – Don’t Play in a Stradbroke and Kinjite in a Doomben Cup come to mind.’’
Doyle pointed out that today’s win is actually his second win in a Prime Minister’s Cup, although the record books don’t show it.
“Back in 1993 the staying Prime Minister’s Cup was renamed the Winfield Cup, so they put on a 1400m race that year and called that the PM’s Cup,’’ he said. “I won it with Spearman, ridden by Glen Boss.’’
Doyle said Celtic Dancer, raced by Gold Coast couple Reg and Phyllis Kling, is now on a Stradbroke Hcp mission.
“We’ll try to get him qualified for the Stradbroke, but if he doesn’t make it there are plenty of other options for him over the winter,’’ said Doyle.
Story: Neil Archer
Photo: Trackside Photography Pty Ltd