By Glenn Davis
It was a special moment for prominent owner-breeders David and Heather Pascoe and premier jockey Jeff Lloyd when nippy sprinter Gracida was successful at Doomben on Saturday.
The Pascoe’s run the Oakey vet clinic on Queensland’s Darling Downs and landed their first metropolitan winner in 16 years when Gracida led throughout to win the Open Handicap (1050m).
Gracida’s win also brought up a century of winners for the third straight season for Lloyd.
Gracida relished the slow conditions to down the fast finishing In His Stride by three-quarters of a length with the well backed Dal Cielo, a further 1-1/4 lengths away, third.
Gracida has only been with Caloundra trainer David Vandyke for two preparations for four wins in eight starts after beginning his career with premier trainer Tony Gollan.
“It’s a big day for his owners as they haven’t won a metropolitan race for 16 years,” Vandyke said.
“They own the stallion (Conatus) and bred this bloke so it’s a big thrill for them.”
Vandyke plans to give Gracida his next start at the Sunshine Coast in two weeks and hasn’t ruled out a throw at the winter carnival stumps.
“There’s a stand-alone meeting at Caloundra in two weeks and another open race which will suit him,” Vandyke said.
“I’ll see how he shapes up after that with regard to the winter but it’s come at a good time for him if he’s good enough.
“I’ve only had him for two campaigns and it’s good to have him back and in good form.
“It’s obvious he’s a very good front runner.”
Gracida’s win was his eighth from 22 starts and took his prizemoney to $166,000.
Meanwhile under-rated sprinter Aqua Vite broke a frustrating day at the office for Gold Coast trainer Scott Morrisey.
Aqua Vite stole a march on his rivals halfway down the straight which proved the difference, just holding on to down the fast finishing Payroll by a nose in the Open Handicap (1350m).
Morrisey saddled up seven runners at Doomben and the Gold Coast and endured a frustrating run of four placings before Aqua Vite’s success.
Aqua Vite was having only his second run following a 10-week break and was coming off an unlucky third in the Listed Goldmarket Handicap on his home track a fortnight ago.
“I was starting to think I ran over a black cat,” Morrisey said.
“Before he won I had three seconds and a third.”
Morrisey revealed he was in no rush to target winter races with Aqua Vite and will let the dust settle before deciding his future campaign.
Racing Queensland webnews March 31