Henry Dwyer will raise the bar again with Beirut late in the season after the stud-bound mare continued a winning streak at Sandown.
Beirut has had six starts since being transferred to Dwyer’s Caulfield stable and has struck winning form of late with Wednesday’s all-the-way success on heavy ground at Sandown bringing up the mare’s third-straight victory.
It followed wins at Sandown in May and another at Cranbourne that month.
“She’s a mare that came to us and was on her last chance and was probably heading off to stud, which she probably still is,” Dwyer said.
“But Chris Caserta just rode her aggressively one day, probably contrary to instructions, and we found out something about her.”
That was in a Cranbourne race in April when the mare was narrowly beaten and in her three recent wins the mare has been able to lead and win.
“She never looked like being beaten today,” Dwyer said.
With Chris Symons aboard, Beirut took up the running in The Cove Hotel Hcp(1200m) and had a good advantage early in the straight which her rivals couldn’t peg back.
The five-year-old scored by 3-1/4 lengths and Dwyer is now looking to target a Saturday city win before season’s end.
“I think she’s even improved again today and hopefully we can win a Saturday race with her,” Dwyer said.
“I’d say she’ll still go to stud this year but if we can win a Saturday race in the meantime that would be good.”
Dwyer has pinpointed a mares race over 1200m at Caulfield on Saturday week.
“And if she was to win a Saturday race next start then we might even have a throw at the stumps in the Bletchingly Stakes,” he said.
Apprentice Beau Mertens brought up his first city double on Wednesday with wins on Oscar’s My Mate Pa and Mr Wonderful.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Mertens said.
Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir has continued his march towards the national record for winners in a season with a double.
Wins to Try Four and Deal With It has taken Weir’s season tally to 328 and within six of John Hawkes’ record set in 2002/03.
Dwayne Dunn maintains a five-win lead over Craig Williams in the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership after both went winless at Sandown.