Plate victory lands Attwell and Kirby their biggest success
Consistent sprinter Long Knife has delivered Albany trainer Des Attwell and rising star Brodie Kirby the biggest victory of their careers after scoring an upset win in Sunday’s $100,000 Tabtouch Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m) at Percy Spencer Racecourse.
In a quality edition of the historic Fitzpatrick Plate, run away from the traditional Easter timeslot for the first time, it was a hobby trainer and one of Australia’s most promising apprentice riders who teamed up to beat their more fancied rivals.
Jumping a $21 chance from barrier one in the big field of 15 runners, Long Knife was well placed behind early leader Secret Minx by Kirby before giving a strong kick at the top of the home straight.
The eight-year-old gobbled up Secret Minx and found plenty late to score a terrific win, downing Big Caroline by half a length.
Viking Forrest was ¾ of a length away in third spot while $4.60 race favourite Run Liam Run finished midfield.
The Medal Of Honour gelding ran 10th in last year’s Fitzpatrick Plate but has thrived since being back with Attwell after a stint with fellow local trainer Roy Rogers.
Long Knife was a winner at the track and distance on Boxing Day and had run fourth in Albany twice since that victory, but Attwell said never in his wildest dreams did he imagine taking out the rich sprint feature.
“I had set him up for this race and he’s in the best order he’s ever been,” he said after the race.
But I didn’t think I would win this — I still can’t believe this. It’s just unbelievable.
“I’m a hobby trainer, I train the horse for me and my dad. It’s a family set-up and he’ll probably be at home in tears.
He’s been doing everything right in his work, so I thought he could run a decent race but when he kicked away well in the straight, it hit me.”
Attwell praised Kirby’s performance and said he had no hesitation in putting the apprentice on in such a big race.
“He rode it a treat and he’s going to be a star,” he said.
“He listened to instructions, he let that horse cross and then rolled off, so we didn’t end up on the fence.
“The weight-drop helped as well but full credit to Brodie.”
Attwell was unsure of the immediate plans for Long Knife, with the 11th win in 53 starts easily the biggest of his career.
It proved to be a huge week for the Attwell stable as they finished with a double on the Ladies’ Day card after Queen Tori took out the last race, while on Thursday in Geraldton, smart sprinter Candlelight Star, which they own, resumed with a strong first-up win for trainer Adam Durrant, and Kirby was aboard in all three victories.
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