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Trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young have pulled off an interstate coup, plundering one of Sydney’s most prestigious staying races with Mirage Dancer.
The training partners decided to send last year’s Caulfield Cup placegetter north, thinking Saturday’s Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) would be a softer target than the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne.
Busuttin and Young’s plan worked to perfection with Mirage Dancer ($10) diving through to deny Mugatoo ($3 fav) by a long head with Angel Of Truth ($19) another short neck away.
Ridden by Nash Rawiller, Mirage Dancer became the first Australian Group One winner for champion Frankel, whose progeny enjoyed a lucrative afternoon.
His daughter Hungry Heart was runner-up in the Flight Stakes at Randwick and Finche placed in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
But it was Mirage Dancer who bathed in the winning spotlight.
“Nash just gave him a peach of a ride and he had a nice draw for a change. It’s amazing,” Young said from Flemington.
“We thought the Turnbull would have been a bit stronger and we just thought that we wanted to chase that Group One.
“He’s a Frankel stallion and he’s now a Group One winner in Australia. We were just mindful of that, trying to get a Group One on the way through to the Caulfield Cup.”
Rawiller said Mirage Dancer travelled well throughout and predicted he would be a force in the major Cups in Melbourne.
“He travelled like the winner the whole race,” Rawiller said.
“I had a lot of horse at the home turn and I just sort of got on the right horse’s back …. and he did the rest. He is a very good horse.
“On that, he has got to go around in the Melbourne Cup and be a genuine chance.”
Kerrin McEvoy, who was chasing a Group One double after winning the Epsom Handicap on Probabeel, said Mugatoo was brave under his 57kg.
“He looked the winner until the last little bit. Great effort,” McEvoy said.
Tawqeet in 2006 was the last horse to claim the Metropolitan Handicap – Caulfield Cup double.