Knight makes welcome change
REFORMED rogue Welcome Knight repaid the patience of his trainer Ross Price by winning the Group One A$252,000 Railway Stakes over 1600 metres at Ascot in Perth last week.
Welcome Knight, previously trained in South Australia, was bought by Price at a dispersal sale early in 1992 when the horse was suffering from a leg injury and a soft palate.
Price has now started the six-year-old gelding four times for four wins.
''The day after the sale he was in hospital having a wind operation,'' Price said.
Welcome Knight, although possessing enormous ability, had made a bigger name for himself with his wayward behaviour.
Once at Flemington when in a winning position, the horse took charge of jockey Brian Werner and tried to run out a gate at the 800-metre mark. Werner baled out and the horse only escaped serious injury when he slipped a couple of metres from crashing into a fence.
Price, who trains in the bush out of Perth, has put a lot of time into Welcome Knight in the knowledge that if he got the horse right, then the rewards would come.
''He settled into life here very well. I was confident he could win this race,'' said Price who also won it last year with Medicine Kid.
Now the horse is heading for another try in the better races in Melbourne, specifically for the A$250,000 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield in February.
Colonial Spirit, a fast finishing third to Welcome Knight and Craft Memory in the Railway Stakes, has been aimed by trainer Lee Freedman at the Hongkong International meeting at Sha Tin in April.
Freedman was disappointed when Storaia was unable to travel to Hongkong for Invitation Bowl earlier this month.
Although he's unsure if Storaia will be able to try again in April, he believes Colonial Spirit is the ideal horse for the territory.
''He's got the ability to win a big race but so far has had no luck. I think he's looking for more ground.'' he said.
Dance The Day Away, a maiden when bought by syndication group Pacers Australia Ltd, last Saturday won the A$250,000 Group One Australian Derby at Ascot.
Dance The Day Away was bought at the end of his two-year-old season for A$80,000 on the recommendation of trainer Gerald Ryan.
Previously, he had failed in eight starts for trainer Rick Hore-Lacy, although he was placed in the Listed Gibson Carmichael Stakes at Flemington.
The syndicate may well have wondered about Ryan's judgement, and their own, after the gelding failed miserably in his first four starts late in the spring.
But Ryan said the also was confident the ability would show once the gelding got over ground on a dry track.
Dance The Day Away has now won his last four starts and is nominal third favorite for today's A$262,000 Group Two Perth Cup at Ascot.
Local star, Red Javelin is currently 6-4 favourite to win the Cup.
Dance The Day Away's Derby win was a triumph for star apprentice jockey Damien Oliver, a former Perth boy now based in Melbourne with Lee Freedman. It was Oliver's first major success in his home city and his 10th Group 1 win of the year.