First-class start for Millard's stable
Jockey Dwayne Dunn and trainer Tony Millard toasted their fledgling partnership with Sambuca yesterday as the season's opening day turned into a good start for the contingent of Australian riders.
While Michael Rodd starred with a treble and Patrick Payne brought home a double, Dunn lent his support with Sambuca for Millard after surviving a protest from Anton Marcus on runner-up My Choice.
Dunn received a relatively late call up during August to join Millard's stable as retained rider this term and was quick to take the offer when it came as the pair had enjoyed some success together in the past.
'I wouldn't say that I wasn't concerned about the protest because there was contact between the two horses but it was quite late in the race and the second horse was hanging in and started the bump,' Dunn said.
'I think my horse would probably have won more easily if the interference hadn't occurred so I'm sure the right horse won the race when they finally signalled correct weight.'
Dunn's mount appeared to drift out initially as he was tackled on the outside by My Choice, who was also drifting out. But in the final stages, My Choice looked to move back in and that was when the contact occurred.
'Tony has a nice team there and I was very happy with how things went today, considering he hasn't really wound the horses up at this stage of the season,' Dunn said. 'Although I did actually come today with a bit of confidence in Sambuca - he'd worked well and he's only lightly raced.
'It's great for us to have a winner so early in the new retainership, but I was just as happy that all the horses from the yard ran well. Sirocco ran okay in the main race but found it a bit short, there were a number of minor placings as well and that gives you plenty of confidence for what's ahead.'
New Zealander Shane Dye also flew the flag for the southern hemisphere after winning race five with Jolly Good Fortune.