Echo Point justified solid backing to win the Birdsville Cup on Monday afternoon in dominant style under the guidance of Brooke Richardson.
The Todd Austin-trained gelding gave the Barcaldine-based trainer a third win in the iconic race, while it also gave him a treble for the afternoon and a fifth win for the carnival.
After opening $1.70 with online bookmakers, the former Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained galloper started -1000 in the $42,000 feature and raced away for a comfortable 4.25-length victory.
The John Manzelmann-trained pair – Shiranda and Bernie’s Tiger – were the only other two fancied runners in betting, and they rounded out the trifecta, running second and third respectively.
Backed as if unbeatable, Echo Point has delivered Todd Austin back-to-back @tabcomau Birdsville Cups this afternoon!
— RaceQ (@RaceQLD) April 11, 2022
Winning rider Brooke Richardson told Sky Thoroughbred Central (STC) that it was an “emotional” victory for her, given that she rides the four-year-old Sebring gelding at trackwork most mornings.
“I’m a little bit emotional because I rode him at work everyday, but he’s a cool horse,” she said.
“I’ve had a bit of a tough time lately, so it makes it worth it. He was an easy ride – he had the pace. I knew exactly he’d be sitting second or third and he just took it so easy.
“He’s got a great turn of foot and he proved that last start, so I knew he’d have lots in the tank.
“Sometimes on him you just feel like a little person going for a ride – he’s doing everything.”
Todd Austin’s wife, Toni, also spoke with STC, saying that his win in Longreach put the writing on the wall, proving that he was worthy of a trip to Birdsville for the famous country Queensland race meeting.
Echo Point was a dominant 6.25-length winner the start prior, defeating Queensland country cups king, Fab’s Cowboy.
“He turned up today for sure,” Austin said.
“He’s another one performing well for our stables. He won well his last win in Longreach and we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come to Birdsville.
“We are so excited for Brooke; she was very patient, rode well and finished the race nicely. He seemed comfortable and we are more than happy.”
In the final race of the afternoon, it was once again the Austin and Manzelmann party, but it was the Mackay-based trainer who turned the table, with Golden Athena saluting in fine fashion over the Austin-trained pair Blade Man and Lady Fey.
Having missed out on hosting the famous meeting in 2020 and 2021, this year’s April meeting was a make up meeting, with the 2022 Birdsville Cup set to be hosted in September, with the iconic carnival returning on the September 2 and September 3, 2022.
Should Todd Austin train the winner of the Birdsville Cup in September, he will be eligible for a $15,000 trainer’s bonus, which the Birdsville Racing Club introduced as an incentive in order to get people to this course this weekend.