Wild Fusion thrills O’Loughlin in country heat

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Jockey Mitchell Pateman urges Wild Fusion home on the outside to win the $40,000 Country Championship Heat: The Road To Ascot (1230m) in Albany.
Camera IconJockey Mitchell Pateman urges Wild Fusion home on the outside to win the $40,000 Country Championship Heat: The Road To Ascot (1230m) in Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson

Trainer Liam O’Loughlin has made a perfect start with new acquisition Wild Fusion, who booked his place in the 2019 TabTouch Country Championship Final at Ascot with a brilliant first-up win on Sunday.

O’Loughlin was offered the chance to train Wild Fusion after losing his mare Prix D’Excellence last season, when she collapsed and died following her run in the Golden Bracelet.

Returning to Percy Spencer Racecourse, O’Loughlin was jumping for joy when his new runner flew home in the final 200m to score by 0.4 lengths in the $40,000 Country Championship Heat: The Road To Ascot (1230m).

Ridden by Mitchell Pateman, the five-year-old was first up without a trial and settled in fifth spot before producing a great turn of foot to edge out Magic Opus while long shot Long Knife Brother ran third.

Liam O'Loughlin shares a moment with his father Shane after their win.
Camera IconLiam O'Loughlin shares a moment with his father Shane after their win. Credit: Laurie Benson

With some owners from the Prix D’Excellence jumping into shares in Wild Fusion, O’Loughlin said it was a special result.

“It’s the highs and lows of racing,” he said. “The last time I was there, I took an empty float home. This time, I went home a winner and with my horse.”

Wild Fusion is set to contest the $100,000 Country Championship Final (1200m) run at Ascot on Saturday week as part of the TabTouch Masters Carnival.

“The final wasn’t the actual aim,” O’Loughlin said. “But a win like that, where he is only 75 per cent fit and the money is good, we might as well have a crack.

“He’ll improve another couple of lengths and pulled up well.

Mitchell Pateman brings the Liam O'Loughlin-trained Wild Fusion back to scale.
Camera IconMitchell Pateman brings the Liam O'Loughlin-trained Wild Fusion back to scale. Credit: Laurie Benson

“I always thought he could win with the right run and Mitch gave him the run of the race.”

The first five horses across the line in Sunday’s Great Southern heat gained automatic entry into the final. The Roy Rogers-trained Read The Riot Act and Samantha Faithfull’s Speed Bandit filled fourth and fifth respectively.

Foxy Princess gave local trainer Annette Crump her first winner of the season, shooting clear to win race 4 by more than two lengths.

The well-supported Kristella continued trainer Tiarnna Robertson’s hot form, as the four-year-old mare broke her maiden status with a dominant 4.5-length victory over 1230m.

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