Lloyd Williams has won a remarkable seven Melbourne Cups, but this year on the first Tuesday in November his eyes may also be looking further north after Hosier carried the prolific owner’s well-known colours to victory in the Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) on Thursday.
That win ensured a place in the inaugural running of The Big Dance – the $2 million feature taking place at Royal Randwick on November 1.
Having his first start for the Kris Lees stable, Hosier ($2.10 fav) was settled perfectly off the speed by Hugh Bowman before peeling around them three deep into the home straight.
The six-year-old import quickly gained on the front runners, taking the lead inside the 100m and easily holding off the wall of horses coming behind him to claim the $150,000 feature.
The Ritz ($6.50), from the Gold Coast stable of Michael Morrison, ran home well to finish 0.67 lengths behind the winner, also putting himself into Big Dance contention.
“He was impressive,” Lees said.
“After he had a little bit of pressure, he had a lovely run.
“It is a bit deceptive the angle there at the top of the straight, there was plenty of chances and he probably got out to the better ground, but as Hugh said earlier he probably didn’t want to be that wide.
“He was good late, I think he will improve off the run just watching how he raced.”
By Camelot (GB) from Time Ahead (GB), Hosier was bred in Ireland and started his racing career in his home country with two maiden starts in June of 2020.
Hosier was then imported, joining the Robert Hickmott stable at Ballarat and immediately making an impression.
Making his Australian debut in June last year, the gelding won four on the trot, working through the grades from a 1500m Bendigo maiden to a Benchmark 78 win at Flemington over a 2000m trip.
Hosier was moved from Hickmott to Lees at the start of this preparation and just had the one trial for the Lees under his belt before Thursday’s debut win for the stable.
Lees said earlier in the week that he had received a call from Lloyd’s son, Nick Williams, asking to send the horse up as they thought he would prefer the tracks in NSW.
“I’ve known some of the owners (in Hosier) for a while, but this is the first horse I’ve trained in those colours,” Lees said.
“He arrived in really good order.”
Very lightly raced, Hosier has a consistent record of six wins and two placings from just 10 career starts and $255,540 in earnings.
“Mr Williams has obviously sent him up here with a purpose, Kris has put the polish on and that’s the result,” Bowman said after steering him to victory and Big Dance contention on Thursday.
“There is more things in store for him.”
Hosier is now Lees’ third contender for The Big Dance, with Kedah saluting in the Ballina Cup back in January and Rustic Steel taking home the Scone Cup in May.
Hosier is now an equal second favourite with online bookmakers for The Big Dance at $11.