Ex Sport Man delivers Albany trainer emotional first victory in Group 2 $500,000 Karrakatta Plate

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
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Albany trainer Steve Wolfe won his first Group 2 $500,000 Karrakatta Plate on Saturday.
Camera IconAlbany trainer Steve Wolfe won his first Group 2 $500,000 Karrakatta Plate on Saturday. Credit: Laurie Benson

Steve Wolfe’s belief that Ex Sport Man is the best two-year-old in the State was vindicated on Saturday when the Albany galloper produced a stunning win in the Group 2 $500,000 Karrakatta Plate (1200m).

The victory delivered the Albany trainer his first success in the two-year-old feature race at Ascot after the pair also won the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic (1200m) earlier this year.

The win had even more merit for Wolfe because he had to overcome the drama of replacing regular jockey Shaun McGruddy, who injured his back earlier in the week in a trackwork fall.

Troy Turner stepped in to replace McGruddy and delivered a peach of a ride.

Jumping a $16.80 chance on the TABtouch tote, Ex Sport Man missed the start slightly from barrier one before Turner pushed up to sit just worse than midfield on the rails.

Turning for home, Ex Sport Man got the perfect run around heels and shot into the clear before charging down the outside to grab Pat’s Got Sas and Liwa in the final few strides, winning by a head.

“He was always the best two-year-old in the State and he proved that,” Wolfe said.

“It didn’t worry me when he stepped slow because in 50m he was up a lot closer than he has been recently and I knew all he needed was clear running and he cut them down because he’s a cut above.

“He needed a run from the 600m, nothing else was worrying me because I know how he can finish.

“It’s nice to win those sort of races, but they’re hard to come by.

“We ran three seconds and a third over the last 10 years, so it’s nice to breakthrough.

“He’s a little superstar and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Wolfe said the plan for the promising two-year-old was to run in the Group 3 Amelia Park WA Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) then head to the paddock.

The Playing God gelding, bought for $40,000, took his prize money to $491,446 after his second win in five starts to go with two seconds.

Turner, who claimed his third Karrakatta Plate, said McGruddy called him before the race to speak about the horse and thank him for picking up the ride.

“Thoughts go out to Shaun. He obviously missed out with injury but I was lucky enough he gave me a call up,” Turner said.

Turner was fined $750 for using his whip on two more occasions than permitted prior to the 100m mark aboard Ex Sport Man.

Heavenly Waters prepared by Albany trainer Roy Rogers finished fifth while Hoi An also from the Rogers stable was 12th.

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