Cromwell Cup an all Wyndham affair
by Jonny Turner
Da Vinci’s sizzling speed set up a Wyndham whitewash in the Cromwell Cup on Saturday.
The pacer sealed an outstanding result for breeder-owners Paul and Brendan Duffy and trainer Craig Ferguson when holding out his half-sister and stablemate Nutcracker who chased gamely along the inner.
In front of a bumper crowd at a meeting hosted by the Wyndham Harness Racing Club, with plenty of friends and family in attendance, vice-president Brendan Duffy had plenty to be proud after the one-three finish.
“I'm probably especially proud of Nutcracker, she's just an honest little horse,” Duffy said.
“She’s getting up in the ratings now, and it's probably going to be to her detriment.”
“But she seems to compete in a good field like that, the run probably suited her.”
“But Da Vinci he's just got a bit more class and yeah we're super proud of how he's going.”
“He's not a top liner but he's certainly one of the better ones around down here.”
Da Vinci and Nutcracker are from the Duffy’s broodmare gem Rockin Cullen who has also produced the good performer, Yorokobi.
“It's a tough game, the breeding game, we've had a bit of bad luck this year but you've just got to take the good with the bad,” Duffy said.
“We've got a mare that's leaving quality stock so if you breed them well, feed them well, they seem to produce.”
“Craig's doing a great job with his team there and being close to Wyndham, the old man (Paul) gets to see them training.”
“He’s got everything there he needs – a swimming pool and grass track, a good all-weather track, so the horses have every chance.”
Coming out of age group racing, Da Vinci faced a new challenge in the Cromwell Cup.
In his first standing start and in his first start on grass, the pacer showed he was well up to the task.
“He's actually surprised me a little bit, with just how he has stepped up,” Ferguson said.
“The key thing today was the start and he managed it good, so we're going to be able to target some of those nice races.”
“With his speed and the way he behaved today, he should do a good job in them.”
Da Vinci (2600m stand) was one of four horses to set a track record at Cromwell on Saturday.
Song Sung Blue (1800m mobile), Hacksaw Ridge (2600m mobile) and One Two Menny (2600m trotting stand) each set new marks with their victories.
Racing over the new distance of 1950m, Bullit Train also set a new track record.
One Two Menny set his new mark when taking out the Cromwell Trotters Cup in a thrilling finish with runner-up Maui.
Trainer Robert Wilson had already enjoyed success at Cromwell when producing Falcons Watch to win race 6.
The pacer scored courtesy of an outstanding front-running drive from Seth Hill who produced his first win in the sulky.