The colours of 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare will be on show at Flemington on Saturday atop Danny O’Brien-trained Regulus, a brother of champion sprinter Star Witness.
The blue blood, a $320,000 yearling purchase and late-bloomer compared to his Blue Diamond-winning sibling, will debut in the Next Generation Sprinters Final (1200m).
While disappointed he’s not able to be trackside, Sydney-based Cup-winning owner Geoff Corrigan hopes Regulus and the return of Vow And Declare next season could renew his philanthropic interests.
Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions prevented Corrigan, who donated $50,000 of the prizemoney to Dementia Australia days after winning the Melbourne Cup, from speaking roles at other charity functions.
The modest former state politician only recently ordered “Vow’s” winning post picture frame.
“We still live in the same house in South Camden we’ve lived in since 1980, we’re not flash people,” Corrigan said.
“We helped our kids, paid off their mortgages, it’s been good in that way, you couldn’t ask for more.
“We were going to use it (the Cup) to raise a bit of money for charity but all of those opportunities seemed to disappear (with Covid-19) … it’s been a bit disheartening that way.”
Craig Williams pilots Vow And Declare to victory in the 2019 Melbourne Cup. Picture: AAPSource:News Regional Media
Regulus has had mixed success in two jumpouts but was runner-up in an 800m trial in January.
Corrigan fell into the ownership after he was invited to the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale by Vow And Declare’s breeder to showcase the Cup as a half-sister went through the ring.
Sitting next to O’Brien when the Starcraft colt Regulus was up sealed the unintended purchase.
“I’d made up my mind I wasn’t going to buy anything and then Danny started bidding,” Corrigan said.
“The first horse I bought with Danny was Lycurgus, by Star Witness. (The) thing about Danny he always sticks with families (of certain horses).
“He’s got a formula he seems to follow and I’m not going to argue with it, it’s worked so far.”
Regulus is one of eight rides Jamie Kah has in her quest towards 100 Melbourne winners this season.
“There’ll be nothing better than seeing Jamie in our colours racking up her 98th winner,” Corrigan said.
Zahra finds a Reliable approach
Co-trainer Simon Zahra says riding last-start winners Divine Diosa and Reliable Dude quieter in races has unlocked the respective three-year-olds’ potential.
Divine Diosa has pulled up brilliantly since her win at Caulfield last Saturday, while Reliable Dude returns 10 days after his own long-awaited second win, at Cranbourne, on June 23.
“Divine Diosa is rock-hard fit,” Zahra, who trains in partnership with Mathew Ellerton, said.
“We backed her up before and she’s won.
“She needs a good tempo, that’s when she can relax and show a turn of foot.”
Divine Diosa was last approaching the bend last Saturday when Damian Lane stayed close to the rail and pounced once the gaps appeared in the straight.
“We had a plan pre-race to not get off the fence and ride for luck and the luck came,” Zahra said of the Rivette Series Final contender.
“Everything panned out beautifully, everyone fanned and (Lane) got a nice cheap run.
“Nine times out of 10 it doesn’t come off but it came off, she’s doing the right things, got plenty of ability.”
Silver Bowl Series Final favourite Reliable Dude has been around the mark this time in, with two wins and three minor placings from his past six starts.
His only blemish was behind Horrifying at Flemington three starts back over 2000m when the Reliable Man gelding tired after sitting on the speed.
“We stepped him to 2000m, same boat (as Divine Diosa) just doing everything upside down,” Zahra said.
“We learned a lot … have to ride him a bit colder.”
The stable has six starters at Flemington on Saturday, including Odeon in the Listed Winter Championship and Parmie in the Leilani Series Final.
Originally published asCup owner hopeful blue blood colt has potential
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