In the fourth edition of The Hunter, it was the blue army who continued their impressive Spring securing their second win in The Hunter after Savatiano won the inaugural edition of the race in 2019.
Vilana proved too strong for a brave In The Congo late over the 1300m after securing the one-by-one with an outstanding ride from Nash Rawiller breaking from gate seven.
He was able to press forward on this horse by Hallowed Crown, unlike last start in the Golden Eagle when they drew the carpark and were forced to sit at the rear of an enormous field.
The writing was on the wall this horse was in for a great preparation after his win in the Silver Eagle on October 15 and when things didn’t go to plan, punters were keen to stick with the James Cummings-trained horse and firmed him into clear favouritism pre-race.
In The Congo took up the running with Tim Clark aboard stealing some nice sectionals mid-race, but it was Nash Rawiller just smoking the pipe with a perfect run-in transit presented with 300 metres to go who just had too much class, while stablemate Gravina stayed on well into the trifecta spot.
Apache Chase was bold to the line as well running into fourth after sitting outside the lead for most of the race.
It was all honours the winner however with team Godolphin continuing their dominance late into the spring.
The Hunter 2022 Replay
Stable representative Darren Beadman was full of praise for jockey Nash Rawiller and his four-year-old post-race.
“It’s a thankless job (being a jockey) but he got the job done anyway (Rawiller) – It was quite painless; they were all around together in the run our horses and you know when he came out and won first up in the Silver Eagle, he really showed his class that day,’ said Beadman.
“With that run under his belt in the Golden Eagle and just the wide gate – the ground was just a little bit firm for him that day, his action just didn’t look right.”
Darren Beadman thought the trip up north last preparation may have unlocked his stables potential as well.
“The trip away to Brisbane really matured him and made him stand up and take notice – and the team have placed him to perfection this preparation.
“It was wonderful to see the way he knuckled down and fought off a very very tough competitor in In The Congo.”
“It’s been a remarkable Spring Carnival.”
Rawiller timed his ride to perfection scrapping past the leaders late to score.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the horse from what he’s shown me in previous rides, and unless you watched the stewards’ replay you wouldn’t know what he encountered in the Golden Eagle,” Rawiller explained post-race.
“He just used his natural speed and sort of got to a lovely spot – and knew he relaxed once he got there. It was just a matter of pushing the button.”
“He’s got a lot of class my bloke, he’s on the way up.”