YEAR: 2004


The Wyatt & Wilson Print Superstars 4yo Championship again lived up to its billing as one of the most exhilarating races on the Addington calendar. The 2004 edition was no exception with another uppercut for the favourites, dashing moves that backfired, a tight finish, and a race that again tripped the backmarkers.

It all made for great theatre, and marvellous action, and the hero in the end was the unsung, quiet achiever, Chris Riley. In his favour was a quick start from a front line draw and busy midrace activity by Likmesiah, Born Again Christian, Lennon and Waipawa Lad that eventually brought them to heel.

Colin De Filippi had Chris Riley second early, behind Jimmy Kelly, but lost his place as Born Again Christian went forward. There was more push and bustle from the 1200 metres, then Mark Jones suddenly shot off at great speed with Waipawa Lad that took him to a clear lead near the 600 metres. The winning post was still a small monument in the distance when Waipawa Lad started to buckle and battle 200m out. The boys in blue had arrived back on the scene by then, but Lennon, Born Again Christian and their tiring stablemate had a new enforcer with them, De Filippi hunting up with Chris Riley. He came with a rattling good run that took him past Lennon by a neck, with a neck back to Born Again Christian. "Waipawa Lad opened them up for me. That really made it for us," said De Filippi. Mark Purdon said the sprint by Waipawa Lad "took the punch out of" Born Again Christian.

Chris Riley is raced by the Southern Men Syndicate - Murray Stuart, Warren Hamilton, Robin Jenkins, Noel Costello, Clark McLean, John Davis, Richard Hall, Robert Davis, Rod Moffat and Chris Widdon who had asked De Filippi to find them a suitable horse. De Filippi cautioned them to be patient. "I kept in touch with them until I drove Chris Riley at Blenheim and liked him. I drove him again at Greymouth, and thought then that he was the horse for them," he said. De Filippi, who trains the son of Christian Cullen in partnership with his wife Julie and is also a member of the syndicate, knew he was putting the horse in at the deep end. "I didn't really expect him to beat them tonight," he said.

Previous surprise winners of the race include Anvilanunoit ($27), Glen Lustre ($77), Lucky Boy ($19), Pathfinder ($41), Defoe ($22) and The Orator ($18).

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 13Oct04

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