The Brierly Steeplechase was the feature event on Day 1 of the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival and was taken out by the Amy McDonald-trained Flying Agent. It was a dominant display by the eight-year-old son of Raise The Flag.
Darryl Horner Jnr got the call up to ride the -125 pre-race favourite when his brother Lee Horner could not fulfil the ride after suffering a broken ankle in two places in a nasty fall at Terang.
The progressive jumper will not contest Thursday’s Grand Annual Steeplechase, but there looks to be no doubt that he will be competing in the 5500m feature event in 12 months time.
Following the race, Horner was full of praise for Flying Agent’s trainer Amy McDonald and his brother Lee.
“It got pretty emotional over the line because Lee and Amy work pretty hard and I know Lee loves this horse.”
“I’m a fill-in, so there will be no awkwardness at all going forward, I was obviously a substitute and I’ve got a Brierly out of it, so I’m pretty happy,” Horner said.
Beginning the race as an odds-on favourite, Flying Agent put his rivals to the sword in dominant fashion, putting close to 2.5 lengths on the 2019 Brierly winner Bit Of A Lad for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, with Eric Musgrove’s Lucques rounding out the trifecta.
Darryl Horner Jnr had only ridden his first winner at the ‘Bool in the first event of the day, but added the Brierly to his trophy cabinet a few hours later.
“The Brierly and the Grand Annual, they are the majors. It’s a dream come true and to do it for Amy and Lee, it’s even better,” Horner said.
Horner sent thanks to jumps training legend Eric Musgrove for allowing him to fill in for his brother aboard Flying Agent.
Horner had approached Musgrove six weeks ago to see if he could be relieved of his duties for the Musgrove team, which the legend accepted.
Trainer Amy McDonald summed up what racing was all about in her post-race interview when revealing her seven-year-old son got the day off school to come and watch his mum take out the Brierly, proving to be her good luck charm.