Superb Triumph for Weekend Hussler
Photo: Mark Gatt
Weekend Hussler triumphs in the Oakleigh Plate.
"Get on this, he is unbeatable today," declared trainer Ross McDonald as his powerhouse 3-year-old Weekend Hussler was lining up for a return to racing in the Oakleigh Plate (Aus-I) over 5 1/2 furlongs at Caulfield in Australia on Feb. 23.

McDonald was being interviewed on national TV about what he thought the chances of the boom horse of Australian racing would do.

"He'll win. Simple," said the chain-smoking trainer.

And despite being the baby of the field and having not raced for four months, Weekend Hussler, (sadly for connections) a gelding by Hussonet from an Helissio mare named Weekend Beauty, was midfield in the mad dash coming to the home bend, but traveling sweetly. The 14 horses swung for home at the top of the lane with Weekend Hussler, the young horse everyone had their eyes fixed on, back about 6 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 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, cheered widly. His legs quickened. His ears went back and he sprinted with a velocity unmatched by many in the world.

He won this AUS$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 1 level -- became the first of his age group in 37 years to complete the group I Caulfield Guineas-Oakleigh Plate double.

"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 Newmaket Handicap (Aus-I) 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," McDonald said.

Weekend Hussler now has won AUS$1,212,700 in stakes money.

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