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G1 Epsom to Hauraki

Mike Hedge

Hauraki turned disappointment into disbelief for Godolphin’s Australian team when he stormed home from the tail of the field to capture the G1 Epsom Handicap at Randwick on Saturday, October 1.

No horse in the stable is more deserving or more honest then Hauraki, but it seemed he would be denied yet again when he settled down in last place, 20 lengths from the leader Fabrizio.

With 500m of the 1600m race still to run, Hauraki (John O’Shea/James McDonald) still had the entire field ahead of him and his task seemed hopeless.

But jockey James McDonald never lost faith, position Hauraki wide on the track to make a bid for victory that still seemed futile with 150m to run.

But both horse and rider were rewarded as Hauraki skimmed over the turf and claimed the leaders half a stride from the line.

“We didn’t even have a chance to cheer,” said his trainer John O’Shea.

“He came so fast … I still wasn’t sure he’d got there.”

Before his breakthrough Epsom win, Hauraki had been runner up at G1 level four times and had run five other Group placings.

As much as McDonald’s persistence was vital to the victory, the champion rider refused to accept any credit.

“We’ve got the best staff in the business at Godolphin,” McDonald said.

“I just point them in the right direction and they fly.”

O’Shea echoed McDonald’s praise for his staff.

“Everyone who works with this horse deserves the credit, they’ve done an awesome job,” he said.

“We knew we had the horse right and thanks to everyone at home, he did the job.”

Hauraki, a five-year-old son of Reset, beat Dibyani by a head with a long head to Mackintosh in third place.

A trip to Melbourne now awaits Hauraki who too his record to five wins and nine placings from his 20 starts, and prizemoney of almost $2 million.