Reliable Man enjoyed another rewarding weekend across the Tasman with victory for a black-type winner in waiting and also went close to siring a fourth Southern Hemisphere elite level winner from his Westbury Stud base.
The Patrick Payne-trained The Cunning Fox has been successful in three of his six starts and stakes targets await Saturday’s Bendigo St Leger Trial winner while at Randwick, Benaud was a gallant second in the G1 Australian Derby.
The Cunning Fox stepped up to 2200 metres for the first time on Saturday and the grey overpowered his opposition with a resolute finishing run to earn himself a crack at stakes targets.
He was bred by Sven Hanson, who also bred and raced his multiple Group 1-winning sire, and was purchased by Joe O’Neill’s Prime Thoroughbreds for A$34,000 out of Valiant Stud’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale draft.
“He’s a lovely, progressive horse. He’ll go to the Listed Galilee Series Final now on Easter Saturday at Caulfield and then onto the Listed VRC St Leger,” O’Neill said.
The John O’Shea-prepared Benaud went close to a memorable inter-state double for Reliable Man when he pushed Australia’s star three-year-old Hitotsu to the limit before finishing runner-up in the Derby.
“He gave me a great ride. I thought we were the winner at the 300m. I was really proud of him, full credit to John and the team to have him spot on for Grand Final day,” rider Brenton Avdulla said.
A half-brother to the crack sprinter Tofane, whose CV boasts a quartet of Group 1 victories, it was an outstanding effort by Benaud who handled the step up to top age group company with aplomb.
Reliable Man’s latest success stories have added further momentum to the Dalakhani stallion’s 2022 results.
His G1 Railway Stakes-winning daughter Inspirational Girl added the G2 Blamey Stakes to her record last month for leviathan owner Bob Peters while Annavisto won the G3 Frances Tressady Stakes in fine style.
Closer to home, the Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Hypnos triumphed in the G3 Taranaki Cup before the Westbury Stud graduate was a luckless runner-up in the G2 Japan Trophy after knuckling over at barrier rise.