Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

A Gust That Could Becomeagale; When Gust of Wind Stormed Home from a Distant Last to Win Her First Race Her Trainer Knew He Had a Special Horse, One That Just Might Win the Melbourne Cup against the World's Best

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

A Gust That Could Becomeagale; When Gust of Wind Stormed Home from a Distant Last to Win Her First Race Her Trainer Knew He Had a Special Horse, One That Just Might Win the Melbourne Cup against the World's Best

Article excerpt

Byline: Wayne Heming

FORMER Kiwi trainer John Sargent believes his tough mare Gust of Wind can blow her overseas rivals away in the Melbourne Cup.

Sargent is quietly confident the lightly raced four-year-old can go from winning a lowly rated Scone maiden over 1400m in February this year to capturing one of the world's best staying races against some of the best imported gallopers to come to Australia.

"We're going to knock 'em over," Sargent told APN when asked about his chance of taking on the likes of Japanese star Fame Game and Irish hope Trip to Paris, not to mention several other high-class overseas raiders.

The moment Gust of Wind stormed home to win at Scone on February 23, Sargent knew he had a special horse - one capable of taking out the Melbourne Cup.

The then three-year-old started favourite in the race, but punters who took the short odds would have been reaching for a stiff drink when she was six lengths behind the second-last horse rounding the home turn. But showing amazing acceleration, she charged down the outside to win running away. It was a special performance - one that still has Sargent shaking his head every time he thinks about it.

Just two months later the daughter of Darci Brahma stepped out at Group One level and raced away from recent Cox Plate winner Winx to take out the $1 million ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.

Winning the Melbourne Cup will be another challenge altogether. Only five mares have completed the Australian Oaks-Melbourne Cup double.

Kiwi mare Ethereal, trained by Sheila Laxon, won the Queensland Oaks in 2001 before going on to win the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double, and Sargent said he put his bonny mare in that same class.

"You don't win a maiden like that no matter who you're up against - and don't forget she beat Winx in the Oaks at her fifth run, and outstayed her that day," Sargent, who owns a share in the mare, said.

"I thought then she might be a Melbourne Cup horse, but then again I have had a lot of Oaks winners and they don't really develop from three to four years. …

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