Lochinvar Art dominates in Hunter Cup win
By Adam Hamilton
It was the night the Hunter Cup became the “Arty” Party.
Lochinvar Art’s latest romp in the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup ended any debate – at least for now – about who’s the best pacer in this part of the world.
It was his sixth Group 1 win in the space of the past 13 months and completed Victoria’s big double – the Victoria and Hunter Cups.
And now the Miracle Mile awaits.
“I just love him, he’s a champion,” trainer-driver David Moran said. “It’s been the most amazing year or so with him. He’s a once in a generation horse and I’m just so lucky to have him.”
The race panned out as most expected with Alta Orlando leading from gate two, Lochinvar Art punching through from the second row behind him and then Moran whizzing around to take the lead after 600m.
Defending champion King Of Swing made a midrace move from near last to sit parked in the middle stages, but Moran held all the aces in front through a cosy 60sec middle half before ripping down the back straight in 26.2 and home the last quarter in 27sec.
Much as he did in the Victoria Cup, Lochinvar Art won as he liked by 6.4m over Alta Orlando, who trailed him throughout, with King Of Swing showing great fight for third.
Anthony Butt’s emerging Wolf Stride ran a solid fourth after making a midrace move then grabbing the one-one on King Of Swing.
Lochinvar Art’s owner-breeder Kevin Gordon heaped praise on Moran’s training and driving.
“It’s a Cinderella story. They’ve grown to greatness together and fed of each other’s confidence,” he said.
“He’s not the easiest horse to train and David’s done such an amazing job. And his driving in these big races has been fantastic.”
Gordon is already looking forward to Lochinvar Art’s next run, in his home-town Group 1 Newcastle Mile on Friday week (February 19). Victory gives him a ticket into the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 6.
Lochinvar Art firmed from $2.20 to $1.70 for the Miracle Mile after his Hunter Cup victory.
“It’ll be so special to have him race at Newcastle. I’m mates with Vic Frost and I go right back to when he took Westburn Grant to Newcastle to win the Mile twice. Great horses have won the race,” Gordon said.