Racing: Doomben win marred by loss of NZ veteran

Epaulette. File photo / AP
Epaulette. File photo / AP

A stint of boot camp proved the catalyst for Epaulette's win in a Doomben 10,000 marred by tragedy on Saturday.

Epaulette ($6) stormed home to win by two lengths from last year's winner Sea Siren ($17) with Buffering ($7) a brave third, a short half-head away.

But as jockey Kerrin McEvoy was bringing Epaulette back to scale at Doomben, the Chris Waller stable was coming to terms with injuries suffered by popular former New Zealand galloper Rangirangdoo.

Rangirangdoo fractured both sesamoids on the home turn and the dual Group One winner was euthanased.

"He won 2 Grp 1's, always raced against the best and came back from a serious injury. Thoughts are with all of his connections today" Waller said on Twitter.

Winning trainer Peter Snowden revealed Epaulette had spent some time at Darley Australia's Osborne Park after his sixth placing in the All Aged Stakes.

"We call it boot camp out there where he did a bit of jumping which was something new for him," Snowden said.

"He had a bit of down time after the All Aged and it worked wonders for him."

Snowden intends to keep Epaulette fresh for his next Group One goal, the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.

Epaulette's win was the fifth for trainer Peter Snowden in Group One races this season and the colt's second after his victory in last year's Golden Rose.

Snowden said the hectic pace set by Buffering in the early stages was instrumental in Epaulette's win.

"It was a ridiculous speed really and coming to the corner I was quietly confident he would pick up the leaders," Snowden said.

"They set it up for the backmarkers and he was Johnny on the spot."

Snowden was happy to give credit to McEvoy who recommended Epaulette race in a visor.

"I was going to keep the winkers on him but Kerrin was firm in his belief that the visor would be a better option and he pulled the right rein," he said.

Your Song was heavily backed from $4 into $3.30 favouritism but after working hard to sit outside Buffering, weakened in the straight to finish in sixth place.

Winning doubles to former New Zealander Waller at Doomben and Randwick could not ease the pain of the loss of stable stalwart Rangirangdoo.

The Waller-trained Zoustar won the Group Two Sires' Produce Stakes at Doomben and Hawkspur took out the Group Three Premier's Cup before Rangirangdoo broke down and was later euthanised in the Doomben 10,000.

Waller's Sydney staff waited anxiously at Randwick to hear what had happened and even victory by Coup Ay Tee in the final race to go with She's Clean's earlier win, couldn't lift their spirits.

"It is a tragedy," racing manager Liam Prior said.

"He has been a terrific horse to the stable, just a great horse.

"It's hard for it to end like this."

Waller was in Brisbane and tweeted his appreciation of the horse and his fans from the Twitter account named for Rangirangdoo.

"I set up this account as a tribute to my favourite horse Rangirangdoo. Tragic end for him today and will be missed by all." he said. Rangirangdoo won the 2010 Doncaster while the 2011 George Ryder Stakes, his other Group One win.

Rangirangdoo won 10 of his 34 starts and more than $2.25 million prize money.

- AAP

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