"He'll win. Simple," said McDonald as he was being interviewed on national TV.
And despite being the youngest horse in the field and having not raced for four months, Weekend Hussler, a gelding by Hussonet from an Helissio mare named Weekend Beauty, was mid-field in the mad dash coming to the home bend....but travelling sweetly. The 14 horses swung for home at the top of the lane with Weekend Hussler, the everyone had their eyes fixed on, back about six lengths off the lead.
His acceleration when called upon was both breathtaking and visible, after his rider Brad Rawiller angled him out with a furlong-and-a-half to travel and asked him for his supreme effort.
All those who had followed the trainer's brazen confidence, along with the bevy of owners -- Ms. J. Kewish, J. Bath, Stoneworkz Racing Syndicate, Mrs. S. Rush, Mrs. W. Stewart, Mrs. G. O'Donoghue, Mrs. L. O'Connell, Mrs. P Troedel, Ms. .J Stosius, and Mrs. M. Moloney -- cheered wildly. His legs quickened. His ears went back and he sprinted with a velocity unmatched by many in the world.
Good horses come and go in racing in every jurisdiction. But rarely does a real superstar emerge. This horse is a star of the highest order. Australia has a long proud history of producing sprinters and currently there are some brilliant ones -- Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, and Apache Cat, among others -- but this horse would stretch their necks to the absolute limit. And he's just a 3-year-old.
He won this $400,000 sprint by nearly two lengths in the end from group I winner and stallion hope Magnus (Flying Spur-Scandinavia) and the lightly raced South Australian visitor Tramuntana (Singspiel-Hip Hop), whose effort for third coming from last on the bend, was brilliant.
Weeekend Hussler, now boasting six wins from eights starts -- three at group I level -- became the first of his age group in 37 years to complete the group I Caulfield Guineas-Oakleigh Plate double when he won Saturday's sprint just as easily as trainer McDonald said he would.
"He's the best horse I've ever had. He's a super horse, I can't say enough about him," McDonald said. "I'd have been shattered if he had got beaten in this."
The great filly Dual Choice was the last to achieve the Guineas-Oakleigh Plate double in 1970-71 and she also returned the following year to win the Oakleigh Plate.
Weekend Hussler will head to the $750,000 group I Newmaket Handicap next month and a clash with the champion Apache Cat.
"After that we will head to Sydney for a couple of group I races over the Easter carnival," boldly predicted McDonald.
Weekend Hussler now has won Aus$1,212,700 in stakes money.