By Ray Hickson
Joe Pride only had one instruction for jockey Tyler Schiller when he was legged aboard Coal Crusher ahead of the $1m Newcastle Herald Hunter (1300m) – "go fast and win" – and it proved to be prophetic.
The speedy six-year-old did just that, ‘crushing’ his rivals in track record time to take out the fifth edition of Newcastle’s signature race and continue a huge spring for the Everest winning trainer.
Coal Crusher ($4.80) clipped 0.26 off Savatiano’s race and course record to score by just over a length from King Of Sparta ($5.50) with Rocketing By ($31) another 1-1/2 lengths astern.
“That’s the way you win on him,’’ Pride said.
“I didn’t think he needed to go quite that fast but I’m not going to criticise a winning ride.
“He really busted them up and maybe that’s what beat the opposition because he got them out of their comfort zone.”
It’s been a 12 month plan by Pride to have Coal Crusher at his top for The Hunter after he won the consolation Benchmark 88 race on the corresponding card a year earlier.
He reserved the blinkers for his fourth-up assault on The Hunter and put the writing on the wall with a plucky fourth in the Giga Kick Stakes (1300m) two weeks earlier.
Everest winner Think About It has obviously been the stable star but Pride said the Hunter win won't be forgotten in the year in review, especially by his son Brave who was strapping the horse.
“We knew we’d be back here and probably qualified but I wouldn’t have gone any further than that,’’ Pride said.
“He’s come back good this preparation, he’s been knocking on the door in harder races.
“I love this horse but only about half as much as my son loves him. It’s his horse and he adores this horse and it’s really special for him.
“It’s been fantastic, three Group 1s and an Everest, a Shorts and a Premiere, now this. This is up there with the best of the moments I’ve got to be honest with you. This is pretty amazing.”
Pride was full of praise for jockey Tyler Schiller, he provided the young jockey’s first Group 1 win with Mariamia earlier this year, who rode Coal Crusher to the letter.
Schiller, who joined Nash Rawiller in the lead in the Sydney Jockeys Premiership after a Newcastle treble, said he didn’t feel the gelding change speed too much in the run but is impressed with how long he can sustain it.
“It’s a lovely feeling, especially when you know you’ve done all the preparation coming into it with the horse,’’ Schiller said.
“Joe was very confident, he said with the blinkers on he should travel better for you and that he did. He got up there and high balled and just sustained.
Coal Crusher wins The Hunter
“He’s one of those horses that just thrives off quick speed.”
Race favourite Mazu enjoyed a comfortable passage in third and fourth place and while he made a short dash he wasn’t able to make the impact that was expected and ended a frustrating spring running fourth.