YEAR: 2012



Because Cran Dalgety didn't set his sights above the dashboard with Bit Of A Legend, he was quite surprised a big race came his way so soon. The little colt was a commanding winner of the $250,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2YO Open Final at Addington, taking advantage of a good trip against the hard ones namely Five Card Draw and Alto Christiano.

He swept up the passing lane after sitting on the tail of Five Card Draw, drawing clear to win by two lengths. Five Card Draw was a brave second, having to face up to and fight off the pressure from Sir Tosti Mach, who ran too keenly outside him. Mitchell Kerr made a bold move when he took Alta Christiano forward from midfield before the bell, only to find Sir Tosti Mach unwilling to yield alongside him and leaving him in an impossible spot. They ran three in line until Sir Tosti Mach dropped off on the corner.

Predictably, they were sitting targets for a late arrival and no-one was better placed to arrive in style than Dexter Dunn with Bit Of A Legend. Which was a result that really caught trainer Dalgety on the hop. "Two months ago we thought it'd be nice to pick up a 2-year-old race and then put him aside. That was pretty much what we thought of him. So we went off south to start him off, where he ran second to Supreme Mach, then he went half good the week before at Ashburton. He's got the good run today, but I feel he's lifted again," he said.

Dalgety could see a lap out that the favourites could find themselves on sticky street if there was no reprieve. "Mitch probably had four sets of bad luck when you look at it. His horse went huge. The long straight sorts them out and then they'd made it a race for the swoopers."

Dalgety had four in the race, an achievement in itself, which is a result of a stronger focus on younger horses and their extensive range of opportunities. As part of that operation, he has a second barn, with 14 boxes, and Dave Moore has the responsibility to run it. "They'll do 14 colts, and when they've finished whatever stage they're at, 14 fillies will come in. We try and keep the barn full. You could go for a boutique stable with 10 or so and then you might finish up with a couple that really go good enough. This is the path I'm committed to, but it can't be done unless you have very good staff.

Dalgety has also been in the choice position of replacing Mark Jones with one no less gifted in Dexter Dunn. "He's on a roll and we're getting some of it," he said. Dunn has actually been in cracking form, winning a Group double at Ascot Park late last month, the Messenger and Sires' Stakes Final at Alexandra Park 10 days ago, and then a Listed-Group 2 combo last Saturday.

Bit Of A Legend is by Bettor's Delight and Dalgety didn't need much pushing to buy from Studholme Park where he has bought and spent well in the past. "He's a half-brother to London Legend (25 wins), who was a good horse for me." Dalgety has also been pleased the way ownership has turned out for 82-year-old Ross Stanbury, a past administrator of the Banks Peninsula club. "Ross used to buy one a year. So I gave it some tought, sat down with Ross and said we'll change the game plan. Now he's buying a bit in four, so there's usually at least one racing and one coming up."

Sir Tosti Mach caused a false start while Flaming Flutter, a stablemate of the winners, was in quite a state after it and took no real part.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 16 May 2012

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