Clinton McDonald’s decision to take on Listed grade and take his galloper Never Again up in class paid off when he charged home to win the Chester Manifold Stakes.
McDonald’s rationale in doing so was two-fold as he liked the prize-money on offer and he also didn’t think the 1400 metres event at Flemington was a strong race.
“We own the horse and there’s $89,000 ($84,000) reasons to be clapping. It was a good result for the family,” McDonald said.
“To be fair it was a rating race of 95 – I think that was the top rating today – so at 85 he got in well at the weights so it’s good prize-money and we’ll take it.”
McDonald entrusted the ride to Michael Walker and although Never Again gave away a big start to the leaders before the turn neither were panicking.
“He’s always needed the tempo on and he got that today which was good to see. Michael (Walker) rode him beautifully,” McDonald said.
“He hits a flat spot and Michael knew about that. He got him through that and then once he got him into the clear I thought he’d be hard to beat.”
McDonald said when Walker was on song he was as good as any other jockey.
Walker said he changed his tactics after he spoke to Craig Newitt, the rider of Coming Around, at the barriers as he told him he was going forward and decided to go back.
“I suppose if there were people on him (watching at) 700 or 800 (metres) out, you’d be screwing your tickets up but he just gradually builds, builds, builds and picks up. At the end he was actually running away from them.”
McDonald said Never Again would tackle a similar race the John Dillon Stakes for his next start also over 1400m at Caulfield on January 26.
Never Again ($9.50) defeated Vassilator ($7) by a neck with Brave Song ($8.50) the same distance away third.
The Patrick Payne Defibrillate made it back to back wins when he was successful over 2000 metres at Flemington.
Payne has a big opinion of the former Kiwi and his goal this campaign is the Adelaide Cup with Defibrillate.
The son of Shocking has now had 11 starts for seven wins and his jockey Billy Egan said that was his best performance.
“It’s not the best he’s ever going to go either. He’s on an upward spiral,” Egan said.
Payne made it a winning double when Ididitforlove won the final race at Flemington the Benchmark 70 over 1100m who also gave his rider Campbell Rawiller his first city double.