Megablast has almost certainly run his last race in New Zealand. The talented grey stayer's dashing all-the-way victory in Saturday's A$175,000 Caloundra Cup has put him in an impossible position in the weights for local racing.
Trainer Nigel Tiley has committed himself to the line of thinking Megablast's future lies with an Australian trainer.
"He'd be running around at home for $50,000 to $60,000 with 61kg on his back."
Megablast has one final race on his current Australian campaign, the 3200m Queensland Cup in two weeks and victory there would make life even more impossible in New Zealand. "The other factor is it's an extensive exercise campaigning horses in Australia and I've got a big team in work at home."
Tiley said yesterday it was too premature for the camp to make a decision on which Australian stable Megablast might join. No one could begrudge this victory - Tiley did an exemplary job getting Megablast fit for Saturday's race after having to miss the Brisbane Cup and Tatts Cup when the stayer badly bruised a sesamoid.
And former New Zealand local jockey Damian Browne felt good about it after last week being dumped for two months for what Browne describes as a ridiculous charge of not allowing a horse to obtain the best possible finishing position in a race at the Sunshine Coast track.
He was riding on Saturday under a stay of proceedings, having appealed that decision. Browne took Megablast to the front from a wide barrier and rated him perfectly. It was clear at the 350m the opposition were not going to get anywhere close. The former Cantabrian showed why he is regarded as riding the Sunshine Coast track better than anyone. This was his third Caloundra Cup win.
Tiley felt the victory was deserved. "I thought I had him spot on for the Brisbane Cup, but he got down in his box and the bruise he gave his sesamoid was nasty. We've had a pretty tough job to get him fit enough for this race." With that race behind him Megablast will be fit enough for the 3200m of the Queensland Cup on Saturday week. It was Tiley's first major victory as a trainer in Australia, but as a jockey he amassed a fine record across the Tasman.
In 1982 he had an outstanding Sydney autumn carnival taking the Tancred Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the Ray Verner-trained Prince Majestic, the Doncaster and All Aged Stakes on his stablemate My Gold Hope and the Sydney Cup on Azawary.
There was also a sense of redemption around the win on Saturday by Cambridge's The Bostonian in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas.
Trainer Tony Pike nearly despaired of getting The Bostonian a major victory on the campaign when a series of impossibly wide barriers saw him scratched - then the 3-year-old was bitten by a spider or poisonous ant. Pike made the gritty decision to stay on with The Bostonian, who has now won three straight. He said the Sydney or Melbourne spring carnivals were options for The Bostonian.
The Sunshine Coast Guineas is not Queensland's premier race, but it holds a special place in history - it was the race in which we all first saw the brilliance of a star on the rise - Winx. She is unbeaten since.