It is official now. Weekend Hussler (Hussonet-Weekend Beauty) is officially the best sprinting 3-year-old Australia has ever seen.
He made that stunning claim clear by easily winning the $1 million Newmarket Handicap (Aus-I) at Flemington on March 8 over six furlongs. He carried the highest weight ever by a 3-year-old to victory against the older horses, and he donkey-licked them. It was his seventh win, his fourth at group I level, from just nine starts.
He is a freak and now probably the best sprinter in the Southern Hemisphere.
Certainly his trainer Ross McDonald thinks so. And he would know as he has trained numerous group I horses throughout his career.
"What can I add to what I have always said? I told everyone in an interview that you should put the house on him. He is a champion. It is plain and simple."
Magnus, the brilliantly fast son of Flying Spur who went to England last year for Royal Ascot and was third in the now group I King Stand Stakes, has continued his run of minor placings in the big sprints with his second placing, completing ths same quinella in the group I Oakleigh Plate with Weekend Hussler three weeks ago.
Grand Duels (Marechal-Valentine’s Gift) showed that he relishes the Flemington straight six with another good effort in a race that was most unsuitable class-wise. He beat three other group I winners home.
The other straight track specialist, the Bart Cummings-trained Swick, loomed up as a chance to cause a boilover at the furlong mark, but died on his run slightly to miss a place, beaten just over three lengths.
Peter Moody who trains the luckless Magnus, reflected upon running into a champion in the making.
"I’m disappointed to have lost this, but his run was great. He’s been really unlucky to have run into the world’s best sprinter Miss Andretti both here and abroad and now a real superstar like Weekend Hussler. He should be going to stud with five or six group I wins, but he’ll have five or six group one placings instead." Magnus will retire at the end of this campaign to stand at Eliza Park Stud in Victoria. He has a group I victory, having won the Galaxy in Sydney last year.
But it was Weekend Hussler who electrified everyone.
He sat in fifth spot just behind the leaders which included the out of form former champion 2-year-old Dance Hero, then when jockey Brad Rawiller hit the button, he zoomed. But give credit where it’s due, Magnus went with him and it was only in the last half furlong that Weekend Hussler surged away. He ran his last three furlongs in :34.28.
The win takes his purse monies to $1.8 million.