Jye McNeil returns o scale after winning on Pacodali at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
To say the make-up off Saturday’s VRC-CRV Cup Tour Trophy changed complexion in the half an hour before the field jumped would be an understatement.
Initially, the $100,000 event gathered a field of 12, which was down to eight after the scratching deadline passed at 7.30am and reduced by an extra two between the completion of Race 1 and jump time at 12.20pm.
The siren rang out for the first time just after midday after stewards ordered the scratching of $3.50 second favourite Show A Star.
The Simon Morrish-trained gelding was withdrawn on advice of Racing Victoria’s Compliance Assurance Team, who detected puncture marks on the horse’s neck at a stable visit on the morning of the race.
The horse was permitted to travel to Flemington, where it was inspected by the on-course vet, who made the decision to withdraw it.
Stewards opened an inquiry, which will be heard at a date to be fixed.
Show A Star’s scratching only strengthened Killarney Kid’s place at the head of the market for the 2000-metre event, the Darren Weir-trained galloper tightening into $2.60 after markets were readjusted.
Bookies were required to amend their boards further around 10 minutes later, however, when Killarney Kid was also a late scratching.
He was taken out on vets’ advice after being found to be lame in the saddling area.
“One of the staff members just wasn’t quite happy with him out the back, so we had him vetted after he was saddled up and he trotted up fine on the grass, but was a little bit iffy on the harder surface,” Weir said.
“It was the right decision. We just wanted to be safe and there’ll be another race for him.”
Killarney Kid’s scratching lessened Weir’s grip on the race, but failed to prevent Australia’s leading horseman from winning his 127th Victorian metropolitan race for the season.
The Ballarat horseman saw Irish import Pacodali ridden to victory by Jye McNeil, scoring by 1.25 lengths from Extra Zero – who finished second for the 23rd time in his 102-start career – with the winner’s stablemate Master Zephyr a short-half-head back third.
It was the Paco Boy’s four-year-old’s second win from four starts in Australia and Weir said he felt comfortable a long way from home with the gelding settling well in second spot behind Lord Durante.
“He’s been going well in all his lead up runs and step up in trip was a big plus for him,” Weir said.
“He was just into a great rhythm and I always knew when he was travelling on corner he would find a bit and he found a bit at the right time.”
The good news for those locked into either Show A Star or Killarney Kid in doubles or the Early Quaddie before the late scratchings was Pacodali, the $3.30 favourite, also started the substitute with the TAB.