By Glenn Davis
Amanaat, a tried horse bought for a paltry $5,000, has given trainer Ben Currie successive wins in the Listed Weetwood Handicap at Clifford Park on Saturday.
Currie had to share last year’s Weetwood victory with his uncle Michael Nolan when Col ‘N’ Lil and Jumbo Prince dead-heated in the famous 1200-metre feature.
However, a year on and Currie stood triumphant alone as Amanaat, ridden by Bobby El-Issa, cleared away for a 2-3/4 length win over Hi I’m Back with Jumbo Prince flashing home late for third, a further one length away.
It was the second Weetwood win for El-Issa, who now rides in Sydney, following his success on Lucky Leak in 2011.
Currie bought Amanaat for only $5,000 as a tried horse in Melbourne and the gelding has now won seven of his nine starts since leaving the David Hayes stable in Melbourne.
Currie, who earlier won the Toowoomba Guineas with emerging stayer Hang, rated Amanaat’s win on a par with last year’s victory.
“They’re both about the same but this is pretty special as I’m really good mates with the owner, Tony Khoury,” Currie said.
“It’s also a bit of a fairytale for Bobby (El-Issa). I had a lot of success with Bobby when I first started training.”
Amanaat’s Weetwood victory has left Currie in a dilemma for the future.
“He’s a good horse but I’m not sure how good he really is,” he said.
“He’ll definitely head towards the winter sprints but whether he’s up to the Group 1 races I’m not sure or if he’s a second-tier sprinter.”
Meanwhile Sydney trainer Chris Waller broke new ground with his first Toowoomba winner with Another Dollar in the Benchmark 75 Handicap (1300m).
Leading rider Jeff Lloyd’s decision to stick to the fence on Another Dollar proved the difference with the three-year-old filly scoring by a neck over local sprinter Hold On.
Another Dollar was Waller’s first Clifford Park winner from a handful of starters and took his tally of metropolitan wins to 25 since opening his Gold Coast stable in August.
Gold Coast stable foreman Paul Shailer predicted better things ahead for the daughter of Ocean Park who has now won twice from four starts.
“She’s a talented filly and we thought she had a class edge on them today,” Shailer said.
“It was a lovely ride by Jeff who was looking to angle out at the 400 metres but he elected to go back on the inside which probably won him the race.
“She’s improved physically and could be a carnival horse force in the winter.”
Racing Queensland webnews April 7