Pizza-loving horse eats up Doncaster
Nettoyer races on a diet of pizza and chicken schnitzels. Her trainer, Wendy Roche, had never prepared a Group 1 winner. Her jockey, James Innes Junior, had never ridden one.
But here they were, Roche and Innes, combining with Nettoyer to hold off the might of the Chris Waller stable, a trainer with 110 Group 1 winners, in the $1.5 million The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick .
This was a result that again proves everyone is equal on the racetrack.
"I'm just so emotional, this mare is such a sod,'' Roche said.
"I can't believe it. I've told everyone she would win today and she's won."
Innes was in tears after the race as rival jockeys offered their congratulations.
"I am flat out getting a ride most days. The fact I can ride light and get an opportunity like this, it is just unbelievable,'' Innes said.
"It is very surreal. It still hasn't sunken in and I don't think it will for a little while.''
The Doncaster never fails to deliver.
In an epic finish, Nettoyer ($41) came with an irresistible surge wide out to beat Star Of The Seas ($20) by a half length with Brandenburg ($7.50) a nose away third.
Favourite Melody Belle ($6) ran gamely for fourth, just over a length from the winner. Roche joined seven-time winner Gai Waterhouse and Barbara Joseph as the only women to train the Doncaster winner, denying a magnanimous Waller a record-equalling seventh win the famous race with Star Of The Seas.
"Unfortunately, this wasn't our year,'' Waller said.
"I was very proud of Star Of The Seas's second, he came through with an amazing burst and he just ran into one better.
"But full credit to Wendy Roche and her team.''
Roche's training effort should not be understated as Nettoyer can be a real handful to train.
"All week I couldn't ride her,'' Roche said.
"I just freshened her, I did 200m sprints. She bit the strapper in the head, he had to get stitches.''
Nettoyer's nervous energy was there before the Doncaster, too.
"She wouldn't take grass, I had chips in my pocket, she wouldn't do any of it,'' the trainer said.
"I really thank the clerks of the course for getting her there (barriers) and the barrier attendants. I really thank the boys and I think she does too."
As the enormity of her achievement started to sink in, Roche was asked how she was going to celebrate her famous Doncaster win.
"I don't know what I'm going to do because all the restaurants are shut. We normally stop at the Doncaster and get beers so I don't think we can do that either.''
But Roche said she will ensure Nettoyer gets her favourite treats.
"She's going to get pizza tonight, she eats supreme pizza with capsicum sauce."
Innes said Roche's confidence in Nettoyer was impossible to ignore.
"Wendy (Roche) said to my manager through the week 'I've only declared this horse once before and it was when it won first up with Hugh (Bowman) and the other time was today'," Innes said
"Wendy and I thought we would be a couple of pairs closer. She just isn't a horse you can drive the brains out of for the entire mile so I just left her alone.
"There were obviously runners venturing into the race three or four wide, the more I straightened up, the more confident I was getting.
"It still hasn't kicked in."
Brandenburg's trainer John Sargent wasn't offering any excuses after his three-year-olds near-miss.
"He ran super, Glen (Boss) gave him a good ride, we gave it our best shot but we were beaten by two better horses on the day,'' Sargent said.
"We won't go to the All Aged Stakes, our plan was always to send him out after the Doncaster. He will have a good break and come back a better horse in the spring.
"We will look at setting him for the Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle, those sort of races.''
THIS WILL BUY PLENTY OF PIZZA
A Victorian TAB customer has picked up a massive collect after securing a major slice of the Doncaster Mile First 4.
The punter spent just $60 to get 50 per cent of the First 4 which paid over $60,000 on SuperTAB thanks to the winner (Nettoyer) paying over $45 on the VIC TAB tote and Star Of The Seas filling second spot at $6.40 Place.
Brandenburg and Melody Belle were third and fourth respectively, meaning this customer picked up a tick over $31,000.So what was their winning strategy? They boxed up just five runners!
Bet Type: First 4 (Vic TAB)
Race: Doncaster Mile (race 9 @ Randwick)
1, 14, 17, 18, 19
Originally published as Pizza-loving horse eats up Doncaster