Mighty Conqueror wins the WA Pacing Cup Photo by Hamilton Content Creators
That elusive trophy is finally in their grasp.
Leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond claimed their maiden victory in the state’s biggest event, the Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park after Mighty Conqueror and Dylan Egerton-Green proved triumphant in a thrilling finish.
Steeped in great history, the WA Pacing Cup is a leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit but has proven to be a graveyard for the husband and wife training partnership in recent years.
But the monkey is finally off their back.
Boasting a record seven (7) of the 12 runners in the 2936m mobile start feature, the Forrestdale based duo not only provided the winner but also filled the minor placings with Vampiro and Our Jimmy Johnstone finishing just behind the winner.
The victory of Mighty Conqueror provided extra satisfaction for the couple given he’s battled his share of issues in lead-up to the event, the lightly raced five-year-old bypassed last week’s Fremantle Cup owing to some bruising in his hooves.
The extra week between runs proved vital.
Mighty Conqueror was driven confidently by Egerton-Green, it was only the third time the young reinsman had sat behind the American Ideal gelding under race conditions and he never wilted when the pressure was applied.
The talented young horseman handled Mighty Conqueror last season when finishing second and third in the Gr.1 four-year-old features at Gloucester Park, the 4yo Classic and Golden Nugget.
Starting from gate five, Mighty Conqueror pushed forward at the start with Our Jimmy Johnstone holding the lead from his inside draw while Vampiro also pressed on from his wide gate.
Egerton-Green initially landed the one out, one back position before being left parked out when Vampiro took the lead from Our Jimmy Johnstone within the first lap.
Race favourite Galactic Star ($4.20) was shuffled further back on the pegs and raced three pairs back.
The lead time was covered in 96.7 seconds.
With the majority of Bond trained runners occupying forward positions, the race was devoid of any real pressure and quickly developed into a sprint home.
The first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 30.2 and 29.1 seconds.
Last start Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star was the first to make a move three-wide with just over a lap remaining and was immediately tracked up by last month’s Golden Nugget winner Shockwave.
Entering the back straight for the final time, Vampiro started to quicken the speed but travelled strongly as Mighty Conqueror and Caviar Star started to close the margin.
The third quarter was covered in 27.9 seconds.
In the home straight, Vampiro kept fighting off the challengers but Mighty Conqueror refused to yield while Our Jimmy Johnstone and Galactic Star probed for clear space.
At the line, Mighty Conqueror ($5.50) surged to the lead and defeated Vampiro ($9) by a head margin with Our Jimmy Johnstone ($7.50) a further 1.8 metres away in third.
Handsandwheels and Galactic Star were both flooding home to finish just behind the placegetters while Caviar Star and Shockwave locked wheels in the home straight.
The final quarter was covered in 28.7seconds.
The mile rate was 1:56.5 and established a new race record but was outside of the track record of Smolda at 1:55.8.
And just for the record, the other members of Team Bond finished 5th (Galactic Star), 6th (Our Alfie Romeo), 7th (El Jacko) and 9th (Ana Malak).
The stable has now won both open class features in their home state following on from the victory of Money Magnet in the 2006 Fremantle Cup.
Mighty Conqueror has now won 16 of his 27 starts while his earnings now exceed $540,000.
He now joins Bling It On (Victoria Cup), Cruz Bromac (New Zealand Cup), Ultimate Sniper (Inter Dominion) and Self Assured (Auckland Cup) as winners on the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit.
The remaining legs for the current term include the Hunter Cup (February 1 - Melton), Miracle Mile (March 7 - Menangle) and the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship (Albion Park – July 25).