The disappointment of missing a start in the Gr. 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) was quickly forgotten on Saturday when the Nigel Tiley trained Megablast tasted success in the Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
The Shinko King gelding had been aimed at the Brisbane Cup as his main mission during the Queensland winter carnival however a knock to a sesamoid 48 hours out from the race put paid to his tilt at the title. Tiley and owners, John and Di Bowbyes, were quick to regroup and Saturday’s feature staying event became their major focus.
“He went to bed on the Wednesday before the Brisbane Cup as good as gold, but he may have become cast in his box during the night as the next morning he had a lump the size of an egg on one of his sesamoids,” said Tiley.
“We did all we could to get him to the race but we just ran out of time and had to scratch him. Thankfully he had plenty of residual fitness on his side so I could back off him and then plan for what we would do next.
“I sat down with John and Di and we looked at our options and decided we would have a crack at the Caloundra Cup.”
Whilst capable of performing at a high level on most track conditions, Megablast excels when there is rain around to loosen up the surface. Heavy rain on the Sunshine Coast from Monday through to Wednesday brought a smile to Tiley’s face as he put the finishing touches on his charge during the week.
“He is at his best when the tracks are wet and loose and that rain we got was just perfect for him,” he said.
“I was pretty confident I had him near peak after his setback so all we needed was some luck during the running and he was going to be a big chance.”
Megablast got that luck courtesy of a peach of a ride from ex-pat kiwi Damian Browne who had the grey idling along handy to the speed before putting a winning break on his rivals early in the run home.
“We were very lucky to get Damian on board as they call him the King of Caloundra for good reason,” said Tiley.
“He knows every inch of the place and it was a lovely ride to get the horse to relax and conserve his energy until it mattered.”
While delighted with the win Tiley believes there is still plenty of petrol left in the tank for Megablast who will now tackle the Gr.3 Queen’s Cup Trophy (3200m) at the same venue in a fortnight.
“He came through the race well so we are going to bring him back here for the two-mile race in a fortnight,” he said.
“We know he gets the two miles and I expect he will carry around the same weight to what he won with on the weekend.
“If we can get similar track conditions he would have to be a big show of a repeat performance.” – NZ Racing Desk