John Tapp rates his Top 10 Doncaster Mile winners and Super Impose comes out on top … twice!
I had the pleasure of calling the historic Doncaster Mile 30 times, beginning with Bye Bye’s win in 1969.
Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have begun my Doncaster journey until 1974, but there was a dramatic development in the spring of 1968 when Ken Howard incorrectly plumped for Melbourne horse Joking in a desperately close Epsom Handicap finish.
When the result went the way of imported galloper Speed Of Sound, there were chaotic scenes in a crowded interstate betting ring at Flemington.
The incident made headlines all over Australia the following day, and resulted in a shock conclusion.
Early the following week under intense pressure from the VRC, Macquarie Radio management decided to take Ken’s calls off the southern network.
He was never heard again in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
I was put into separate boxes on all four Sydney tracks, calling exclusively for the three southern states. Although his audience was halved, Ken ploughed on for another five years but the whole sad affair hurt him deeply.
1 – SUPER IMPOSE (1991)
The standout performance among my thirty “Donnies” has to be Super Impose’s arrogant win in 1991. In keeping with his customary racing style, he was last of 20 runners approaching the home turn. He cut loose around the field at the 500m and was on his way to one of the greatest ever Doncaster wins. Ten deep on the corner, 12 lengths from the leaders on straightening, and with the steadier of 59.5kg on his back the chestnut commenced a demolition job on the opposition. What a win!
2- SUPER IMPOSE (1990)
Number two for me is again Super Impose, his first Doncaster win the previous year. He had 2½kg less on that occasion but it was still a good horse’s weight at 57kg. After all, he had won four stakes races and had run seconds in an Australian Cup and a Melbourne Cup. As predicted he was in front of only three horses at the 600m where he began his trademark long, searching run. An emerging superstar called Shaftesbury Avenue exploded to the front at the 200m. Super Impose spotted him 10 lengths and 8kg – however it was a mere formality. He grabbed the three-year-old in the last few strides. Shaftesbury Avenue went on to win six Group 1 races.
Super Impose with Anthony Freedman and strapper Scott Magee.Source:News Corp Australia
3 – GUNSYND (1972)
Like most Australian race fans I was in love with the Goondiwindi Grey. Gunsynd won a Cox Plate and Caulfield Stakes at 2000m and other top grade races at 2400m, but there’s little doubt he was all but lethal at 1600m. He won at five of six attempts in Group 1 mile races including the 1972 Doncaster in which he spotted the runner-up Triton 6.5kg. Courageous and charismatic was the unforgettable Gunsynd.
Gunsynd, ridden by Kevin Langby, bows to crowd at Randwick following his last race. Picture: News Limited.Source:News Limited
4 – EMANCIPATION (1983)
Gunsynd’s principal achievement in the breeding barn was to sire the dam of the great mare Emancipation, whose six Group 1 wins included the 1983 Doncaster as a three-year-old filly carrying 1½kg over weight for age. After being held up for a few strides on straightening, she exploded to record a spectacular win. Both Neville Begg and Ron Quinton believe it was her finest moment.
Emancipation was a winning machine. Photo: Gary Graham.Source:News Corp Australia
5 – MAYBE MAHAL (1978)
Impressive wins in the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap prompted Bart Cummings to rush the classy mare Maybe Mahal to Sydney for the 1978 Doncaster. I was at Leilani Lodge a couple of days after she arrived from Melbourne and I heard Bart tell her strapper that “she was ready to peak”. The maestro’s uncanny eye was again to the fore. Two days later Maybe Mahal decimated the Doncaster field to win by three lengths with 57kg.
6 – DALRELLO (1975)
The runners arrived at the barrier for the 1975 Doncaster under blue skies and brilliant sunshine. Ray Warren was broadcasting from Kogarah Oval and commented on some ominous black clouds that were heading towards Randwick. The outstanding Queensland horse Dalrello smashed the opposition in the Doncaster in 1.33.9 – it may have been an Australian record at the time. Then the storm unleashed its fury. Shortly afterwards the last four races were called off. Never forget it!
Dalrello in action at Clifford Park Toowoomba.Source:News Corp Australia
7 – VITE CHEVAL. (1984)
The 1984 winner Vite Cheval was a three-year-old trained by the astute Ian Saunders who could keep a secret better than most. The jockey was a remarkable 55-year-old called Kevin Mitchell, who liked nothing better than a well-planned coup. Vite Cheval started favourite at $5 and reportedly landed some sizeable wagers.
8 – PHARAOH (1995)
Pharaoh will long be remembered as the horse to launch Gai Waterhouse’s big time training career. Tommy Smith probably deserved some of the credit for Pharaoh’s first Doncaster win because he’d signed the gelding over to his daughter only two weeks before. Gai deserved all of the credit for the second win in 1995 though because she had to bring the horse back from sesamoid issues and a long lay-off. A gun Gavin Eades ride helped Pharaoh join an elite group of dual Doncaster winners.
Pharaoh wins the Doncaster with Gavin Eades in the saddle.Source:News Corp Australia
9 – MY GOLD HOPE (1982)
“She Came, She Saw, She Conquered” seems an apt description of My Gold Hope’s lightning swoop on the 1982 Sydney autumn carnival. Trained by the astute Ray Verner, the daughter of Aussie stallion John’s Hope made a massive statement in the Doncaster at odds of $8. With a very young Nigel Tiley on board, the chestnut mare came from a mile back to blow the opposition away. One week later she won the All Aged Stakes as a $1.90 fav.
10 – SECRET SAVINGS (1992)
The inclusion of Secret Savings might come as a surprise to most but consider these facts. The stallion arrived from New York in August 1996 with a six-win record, some of them in open company but no black type. Five months later he embarked on a brilliant four-start campaign for Gai Waterhouse. Wins in the Frederick Clissold and Newcastle Newmarket were followed by a strong third in the Group 1 George Ryder. Then came his emphatic win over All Our Mob in the Doncaster with a pretty severe 57kg. Larry Cassidy speaks very highly of him.
Secret Savings (right) under Larry Cassidy grabs stablemate All Our Mob to win the 1992 Doncaster.Source:News Limited
Originally published asJohn Tapp relives his Top 10 Doncaster memories
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