By Ray Hickson
At Royal Randiwck
Trainer Ben Smith arrived at Randwick hoping to upset the applecart in a feature Group 1 and so it was as his unheralded filly El Dorado Dreaming caused the biggest upset in the five years of The Championships.
It’s safe to say Smith’s expectations with the filly, a three-start maiden prior to the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ (1400m), weren’t anywhere near as high as for top class mare In Her Time to lower Redzel’s colours later in the day.
But nobody told El Dorado Dreaming, beaten in a Tamworth maiden on debut and runner-up at Newcastle just seven days prior to her Group 1 upset.
“I have to pinch myself every day and horses like this make it a lot easier to get out of bed that is for sure,’’ Smith said.
“We thought she’d run well, we weren’t here to make up the numbers. Her last couple of starts she’s been on the pace. We just wanted her ridden quiet to get the 1400m.
El Dorado Dreaming denies Oohood in the Group 1 Inglis Sires' at Royal Randwick
“(Damian) gave her a peach of a ride and as she was coming around the turn we thought she’d run well. Didn’t expect her to win but expected her to run well.”
El Dorado Dreaming was sent out an $81 chance on track, $151 with TAB Fixed Odds and payed $105.80 on the TAB – the previous longest priced Sires winner was Excites, also a maiden at the time, back in 2006 at $21.
Smith, whose first Group 1 came just two weeks earlier when In Her Time won the Galaxy, said he’s long thought El Dorado Dreaming, being out of a Zabeel mare, would appreciate more ground.
“The seven day back up helped, she was still a bit big and was three wide no cover,’’ he said.
“On her trackwork she is nice and relaxed and goes through her gears. For her to be able to be able to attack the line was good to see.”
Jockey Damian Lane posted his 10th Group 1 success in the Sires’ but he admitted he thought El Dorado Dreaming’s late dive was too late.
“I thought I got beat and I was filthy with myself but we got there and obviously she has a bucket load of talent,’’ he said.
“I went back from the wide draw seeing most of the field I think I was second last and as we turned for home I thought ‘this horse is travelling’.
“I thought I may have waited a bit too long on one earlier in the day so I just went for home and I thought I had done the opposite and thought I got done. What a thrill.”
Smith said he’ll give consideration to El Dorado Dreaming returning to Randwick in two weeks for the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
— The Championships (@ChampionshipsRR) April 7, 2018
If she does, it’ll likely set up a rematch with the luckless runner-up Oohood.
Oohood’s trainer Tony McEvoy was left to lament what could have been after his filly, ironically also a maiden, was badly held up for a run at a vital stage and couldn’t gather the momentum in time to hold off the finish of the winner.
McEvoy said owner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum has left the decision up to him whether Oohood seeks that elusive Group 1 win in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) on April 21.
“If it’s up to me I’m not going to say no. This filly is thriving, you couldn’t tell me that run was below the Slipper,’’ he said.
“It was a superb run. Right at this moment I’d say she will go to the Champagne but if she goes home and lies down and tells me she’s had enough she’s out.’’