By Isaac Murphy
Balboa Rocks has knocked out his competition to win the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup for local trainer Darryl Hansen, unleashing down the middle of the track in front of a raucous home crowd for a 0.5 length win at $101.
The unheralded local tackled the likes of James Cummings and Godolphin race favourite Gaulois coming from fourteenth at the 400m for one of the more unlikely listed race wins in recent memory.
A jubilant Hansen said while he had trained winners in bigger races claiming his home Cup for a loyal group of owners with the ultimate underdog took the cake.
“I’ve been lucky enough to win at Group level before, but win the biggest race on our home track, with this horse and Darrell and Susan Dunk who have been the biggest supporters of the stable you can’t take the smile off my face,” Hansen said.
“He goes well second up we knew that, but I really thought he was a little bit outclassed at the 1400m today.”
“There was something about him today, the strapper let him go and he was bucking straight away, I think he was ready to go.”
Drawn out in barrier fifteen Hansen and jockey Michael Cahill had planned to push on with the gelding and land in the first half of the field, but some quick thinking from the veteran hoop led to a thundering finish.
“Great ride from Michael Cahill, I said to him go forward on him and drop anchor which he tried to do,” Hansen said.
“Unfortunately he found himself caught wide and made a decisive move to take him back, giving him the chance to find that line how like he did.”
The five-year-old gelding has been a model of consistency for Hansen and the team with winnings in excess of $366,000 and Hansen is keen to head back to a happy hunting ground to rack up more earnings but not before some deserved celebrations.
“We were setting this horse for the Northern Carnivals again,” he said.
“He won the Mackay Cup last year so we’re thinking about a short campaign and bringing him back for that.”
“We’re having a going away party for one of our workers so it’s going to be a pretty wild night I think,” he laughed.