Just 40 minutes after breaking a soul-zapping run of group I seconds, Damien Oliver made it two group I wins in a row when he magnificently steered the vastly improved, Sydney-based stayer No Wine No Song to victory in the time honored $600,000 Sydney Cup over two miles at Royal Randwick May 3.
The glow of his group I Queen Elizabeth Stakes win aboard Sarrera just 40 minutes earlier was evident for all to see. Confidence will do that.
It was a patient ride, a ride of a man who knew the quality of the horse under him, and a ride of impeccable timing.
No Wine No Song (by Song Of Tara) had been racing in rare form leading up to this his grand final of this campaign, winning stakes races and placing in all the lead up races.
Last year he was third in this race. “It is just so nice – that’s the best word I can find - to ride this horse to a group I win because he tries so hard, is so well behaved and just does everything perfectly in the race,” claimed Oliver.
No Wine No Song is trained by former jockey Kevin Moses, who became the first jockey in history to have ridden a Sydney Cup winner and then trained a galloper to win also.
“I think winning it as a trainer is the most pleasurable,” he mused. “Mainly because you spend so much time with them getting everything perfect for the day and feeding them exactly right and training them and all that. The jock just comes over on race day and is on board for five minutes, but you spend as a trainer years getting one right so it is more fulfilling as a trainer to win a group I.”
Moses won the race in 1999 on Palace Revolt.
No Wine No Song beat home the New Zealand galloper Pentathon (by Pentire) who was ridden by Shane Dye who has now left Hong Kong behind and is based in Sydney. He rode the Kiwi galloper perfectly, in fact if Oliver got 9 stars for his ride, Dye got 10. The horse simply wasn’t as good as the winning galloper and although he did hit the front with just over a furlong to go, he wound up a length behind the winner.
Dye just kept saving ground and improving his position along the fence all the way. “He ran well, but I knew coming to the bend that Damien was traveling better to me and he ran away when it mattered.”
Lang (by Langfuhr ), who was a 30/1 chance and hailed from the David Payne stable, produced the run of his life to charge home from well back in the big field of 16 to grab third, after being checked slightly at the two furlong point, a further length and a half behind Pentathon. Old stager County Tyrone, a former Sydney Cup winner in his heyday is now a 9-year-old and was making his sixth appearance in the Sydney Cup. He ran a storming race, looked the winner at one stage in the stretch, and made his younger rivals behind look very ordinary by boxing on very well in the straight to finish fourth.
But No Wine No Song, the punter’s favorite, was the deserved winner. Over his career in the stable, because of his incredibly placid nature, he has helped train two apprentice jockeys to learn to ride.
Said Moses: “He’s a true gentleman, his manners are so good that you could take him out to dinner at a restaurant and he would have better manners than half the people eating in there.”
He will now be aimed for the group I $5-million two mile Melbourne Cup in November.
The two miles of the Sydney Cup were run in 3:25.51 on the heavy turf surface with the last three furlongs run in a slick :35.86, but that is to be expected with the sweet run the winner had.