Bling goes bang
BLING It On capped one of racing’s most remarkable comebacks with a barnstorming Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton last night (Saturday).
Having just his second run back from 16 months out through injuries, retirement and stud duties, the nine-year-old brilliantly beat a strong field in the first open-class “major” of the new season.
The race mapped as most expected with Cash N Flow leading, Colt Thirty One behind him and Bling It On three pegs, while the gallant San Carlo did the work outside the leader as they ran scorching times.
Bling It On’s moment came when the enigmatic Buster Brady hit his now trademark flat spot, dropped off and McCarthy got away from the peg, gathered in the leaders and pinched a crucial break while Colt Thirty One sweated on the sprint lane run behind the tiring leader.
Colt Thirty One closed late for second to get within 2.6m, while Cruz Bromac finished strongly for third. San Carlo was so courageous in fourth spot.
Bling It On’s 1min51.5sec smashed a full second off Lazarus’ 2240m track record. The splits for the last mile were amazing at: 29.0, 28.5, 27.6 and 27.4sec.
“It’s hard to describe. He’s such a special horse, Everyone knows his story now, but to come out second-up after so long off and win a big race like this … he’s a beautiful horse,” McCarthy said.
“The trip worked out beautifully tonight. He got clear when I needed to and he was good enough to do the rest.
“It’s kind of scary to say it a couple of years after he’s already won a Hunter Cup, but I don’t think he’s ever been better.”
Part-owner Sammy Kilgour was trackside for the win and couldn’t hide emotions with Bling It On being the closest link to her late mother, Kaye, who owned the dam Alldatglittersisgold and bred Bling It On.
“This horse wouldn’t be hear if it wasn’t for mum. This is so special,” Kilgour said. “When they retired him from racing, I never for a moment about selling out of him. I reckon you could offer me $5 million and I still wouldn’t sell. He’s so special to me this horse.”
McCarthy said the focus now switches to the Auckland Inter Dominion.
“He’ll have two more runs before them, the next in three weeks over 2300m at Menangle,” McCarthy said. “The one more after that before we head across.
“I’m going to chat with Menangle about working him really strongly there the Auckland direction. I might ask if we could do it between races next Saturday night to get the closest possible simulation.”