Gordon Richards is a Group 1-winning trainer at the age of 68 after Gytrash delivered a knockout blow to the established sprint stars Nature Strip and Redzel to win the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Incredibly, Nature Strip missed a place as the overwhelming $1.45 favourite as Gytrash dashed away late at odds of $21 to continue the Adelaide trainer’s remarkable run in Victoria this season.
Since June of last year, Richards has run 15 horses in Melbourne for nine wins and four seconds. Yet none of those previous wins were anywhere near as special as Gytrash’s giant-killer performance.
In his wake was the fourth-placed Nature Strip, who raced fresh, according to trainer Chris Waller before being over-run in the last 200 metres.
"He was very fresh and will improve with the run," Waller said. "He jumped and wanted to charge the first two furlongs."
As for Redzel, trainer Peter Snowden and jockey Kerrin McEvoy viewed the film after the race as Gytrash moved across Redzel to the rails near the line, but with a length margin, they decided not to protest.
McEvoy said: "He just got crowded over the last furlong but it was a great run and he showed he has come back in great order there.’’
The race was on from the moments the barriers opened as Redzel went towards the inside of the course while Nature Strip stuck to the outside.
Gytrash and Mark Zahra, picture Quentinjlang.com
Inside the 400 metre mark, Nature Strip started to wobble and Redzel ($7.50) dashed clear near the rail but Gytrash was following up the seven-year-old and managed to peel off his back and sweep by and win by a length with the filly Loving Gaby ($5) finishing on strongly for third.
While the connections of Nature Strip and Redzel were licking their wounds, the Adelaide owners of Gytrash who made the trek to Flemington were celebrating wildly as was the newest member of the Group 1 club in Richards.
"I am 68 and I’ve won my first group 1," Richards said.
"If ever I was going to win one, this horse was going to do it. He’s just a machine."
Richards said he couldn’t be over-confident of victory due to the presence of Nature Strip and the dual Everest winner Redzel.
"All these lunatic owners were standing here waiting for the instructions and I just said to Mark (Zahra), you’ll work it out," Richards explained.
"Two of them go hard and you’ll be coming over the top of them as long as we can keep up.
"Jason Holder rides him fast work over there and he said this horse frightens him he goes that fast but you can’t tell everybody that before the race because if he goes like a busted arse, you look like an idiot."
Incredibly, Richards may be just a week away from another Group 1 as his in-form sprinter Bold Star chases the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) next Saturday at Caulfield while Gytrash is likely to return to Flemington the following week for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
GORDON RICHARDS MELBOURNE RECORD SINCE JUNE 2019
Gytrash (WON) – Ken Cox Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on June 8.
Gytrash (WON) – LR A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on June 22.
Charossa (WON) – Jeffery Overington Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on August 10.
Charossa (SECOND) – MSC Signs Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley on August 24.
Gytrash (SECOND) – G3 Heath 1100 Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 31.
Garner (WON) – Living Legends Plate (1000m) at Caulfield on September 21.
Garner (WON) – Schweppervescence Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 5.
Journica (FIFTH) – LR TCL TV Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on November 7.
Bold Star (WON) – Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge Heat 6 (955m) at Moonee Valley on November 22.
Flop (LAST) – Merry Christmas VRC Members Plate (1600m) at Flemington on December 21.
Bold Star (WON) – Festive Season Sprint (1000m) at Flemington on December 21.
Bold Star (SECOND) – G3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on January 1.
Bold Star (WON) – LR Kensington Stkes (1000m) at Flemington on January 18.
Bold Star (SECOND) – G2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8.
Gytrash (WON) – G1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 15.
Gytrash, picture Quentinjlang.com
Gytrash 😱😱😱— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) February 15, 2020
Nature Strip has a shocker. pic.twitter.com/CywArzTVJG