By Tony Megahey
An impressive first-up win by Godolphin discard Leogang, further enhanced the reputation of rising young trainer Damien Lane leading into the Lonhro gelding’s next start at the Cessnock TAB meeting on Tuesday.
Lane, after a lengthy history check on Leogang, invested $22,000 at the Gold Coast tried horses sale and reaped an immediate return.
At his initial start for Lane after a three-month spell, Leogang led all the way to win a Scone 1100m maiden on December 27 in slick time. The $16,710 first prizemoney and the promise of better races for the lightly-raced three-year-old, make Leogang an exceptional bargain already.
“I went way back over his two-year-old trials for Godolphin, I liked what I saw and at his first start in a strong Rosehill race he was beaten less than three lengths by the winner Viridine,” Lane explained.
“He was spelled, and then they sent him to Victoria where he was unplaced twice. So obviously he wasn’t going to measure up to their high expectations of city quality.
“But he made nice progress for us. He was underdone without a trial; he led and got a little tired at the finish but that was to be expected after his time off. But you know what you are getting with a Godolphin purchase.
"The breeding is there and the reputation. It’s all so thoroughly professional, the horse’s history and the guaranteed veterinary records. So that’s why you don’t mind paying a bit more.
“I mean they’ve got such big numbers coming through, so obviously there’s a large turnover when they don’t come up to the level required. But we found the right race at Scone - we’d accepted a few times but he kept drawing wide, there’s not a lot of him, so we waited. We’d accepted also for Wyong on Saturday, but Cessnock is the best option.”
Leogang is weighted on 56kg for Mitchell Bell in the Royal Oak Hotel Cessnock Class 2 (900m) and is likely to share favouritism with Greg Hickman’s smart Newcastle maiden winner, Kitana, and the Kris Lees-trained Biscuit time.
“Back to 900m, I wouldn’t expect us to lead, but with the extra fitness he’ll be hitting the line strongly.” Cessnock will race on a good three track rating.