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G1 Darley Sprint Classic win confirms Bivouac as Australia’s top sprinter

Mike Hedge

A dominant display of sheer brilliance carried Bivouac to a sensational victory in Saturday’s Group One Darley Sprint Classic at Flemington that confirmed his place as Australia’s champion sprinter.

Ridden with supreme confidence by Glen Boss, Bivouac cruised through the first 1,000m of the race before being called on at the 200m to go after the leader, last year’s winner Nature Strip.

In half-a-dozen strides he put paid to Nature Strip, Australia’s Horse Of The Year for 2019-20, to win by an unextended 3-1/4 lengths with Libertini close behind in third place.

“That was unbelievable,” said Boss, who also rode Bivouac to victory in last autumn’s G1 Newmarket Handicap over the same Flemington 1,200m course.

“He has everything a good colt needs, he’s got the lot.”

The Darley Classic proved a repeat of that previous peak performance in the Newmarket when Bivouac again beat the best sprinters in training.

The victory is Bivouac’s third at G1, having also won the Golden Rose in Sydney as a three-year-old last autumn.

It also followed his second placing to Classique Legend in the Everest, the world’s top-ranking sprint, at Randwick last month. With Classique Legend’s departure to Hong Kong, Bivouac is left as the undeniable star of the local sprinting ranks.

For trainer James Cummings, who was kept from witnessing first-hand the performance of a horse he rates as the best he’s trained by COVID-19 restrictions, the win completes a brilliant week that began with the victory of his G1 ATC Oaks-winning filly Colette in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill in Sydney.

Cumming’s Melbourne representative Sean Keogh said Bivouac had given every sign he was ready for his return to Flemington.

“Glen rode him back here in the autumn when he won the Newmarket and he said when you sit on these colts you just feel like they’re ‘on’, and that’s what we thought when he came off the float from Sydney this week,” Keogh said.

“He looked like he was there, and he was.”

“He’s got an extremely good nature and that’s why we see him racing on.”

“He’s just come back in great condition and he’s got the temperament to go with it.”

While an international campaign now beckons, the team remained understandably non-committal.

“Before today this horse was a seven-time Stakes winner,” Keogh said.

“As a three-year-old he was a dual Group 1 winner over six and seven furlongs, he was homebred here in Australia, and we’re just grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed that we can breed and race and produce horses like this in Australia.

“He won his Group 1 second-up in the autumn and now he’s back as a four-year-old.”

“There’s a bit more to him. Third-up was the recipe today and James got that spot on.”

Bivouac’s record now stands at 20 starts for eight wins and seven placings for some $6.5 million in racetrack earnings.

He also becomes Godolphin’s 17th G1 winner for 2020 and earned himself the title of the most successful Australian son of his sire Exceed And Excel.