After three runner-up finishes, Cardigan Queen broke through for a well-deserved first win thanks to a confident ride by Harry Coffey in the VOBIS Gold Elvstroem Classic (1300m).
It was a first feature win in the Swan Hill Carnival for hometown hero Coffey, who was trackside as a seven-year-old in 2003 to witness the great Elvstroem break his maiden on debut.
While it is unlikely Cardigan Queen will achieve the same level of success as Elvstroem, who would go on to win six Group 1 races including the 2004 Caulfield Cup, the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable look to have a highly promising filly on their hands.
After successive seconds at Bendigo, Warrnambool – in the lucrative VOBIS Gold Strike (1000m) – and most recently Sandown, the daughter of Sebring shed her bridesmaid tag at the fourth time of asking to earn her connections a cheque for $63,400, which included $8,400 in VOBIS bonuses.
That took the chestnut two-year-old’s career earnings through the $100,000 mark, once again underlining why it pays to nominate yearlings to the VOBIS program.
Nicknamed “Queenie” in the stable, Cardigan Queen is owned by the Yabby Dab Farms syndicate, whose members are based in Cardigan, a small town near Ballarat. The syndicate purchased Queenie for just $60,000 at the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, and they could see some further returns on their shrewd investment in the very near future with co-trainer David Eustace indicating she would be kept in work.
“She really deserved that win, she’s such a tough filly,” Eustace told Racing.com.
“We haven’t seen the best of her yet, part of the reason we took her to Swan Hill was because we were expecting soft ground, which she relishes. So even though she handled the good ground, she’ll be better with more give in the track so we’ll probably keep her going over the winter.”
Coffey was equally effusive, saying: “I’m absolutely delighted, that was great placement by the stable. I spoke to David [Eustace] on raceday morning, he told me he was very happy with her heading into the race, which gave me a lot of confidence.
“The blinkers worked a treat, they kept her switched on and even though the favourite laid down a challenge, in the end she was too good.
“I’m really happy for the team and especially Thomas [Maloney], who was strapping her for the first time. He was so nervous before the race, but he’ll be a very happy man now.
“I’ve never won one of the Swan Hill Carnival’s feature races. Growing up as a kid I used to watch some really good horses going round in the carnival, including Elvstroem, so to win one of the big races here is a huge thrill.”
The Andrew Noblet-trained All About Eve, who started as the odds-on favourite, had her chance in the home straight under apprentice jockey Will Price, but was unable to run down Cardigan Queen.
Pretty Little Lass rounded out the top three for the Lindsay Park training team of Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.