It was hard not to have hairs standing up on the back of your neck as Art Cadeau crossed the finishing line to win the 2021 The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Old stager and previous The Kosciuszko winner, Handle The Truth, led on the turn and looked the winner at both the 400m and 200m marker.
Still, Art Cadeau, which had a dream run in the race under the guidance of Tommy Berry, was just too strong to the line, edging Handle The Truth in a tight finish, while Spiranac flashed home to finish third.
In winning the $1.3 million race, Art Cadeau not only earned $685,000 in prizemoney for Nowra trainer Terry Robinson and his connections, but the five-year-old became the first horse to win both the Country Championships and The Kosciuszko.
Berry was over the moon when talking to Sky Thoroughbreds after the win, and he explained that Art Cadeau just kept rising to the challenge whenever called upon, proving why he is considered NSW’s premier country galloper.
“He had a little bit of work to do at the top of the straight, but as I said all week, we just don’t know how good he is yet, because every time we raise the bar, he keeps jumping it,” Berry said.
“He loves to get in a bit of a battle there and he beat one of those hard heads that has been running in Group races all his campaign (Handle The Truth).”
Many racing pundits questioned whether the Artie Schiller gelding could sprint the 1200m, especially after a 24-week spell, but Berry explained that it took an almighty training effort from Terry Robinson and his Regal Lodge team to get the job done.
“He felt strong all the way through… He has had that perfect preparation all the way through, where it was the complete opposite last preparation,” Berry said.
“I think Terrys’ training performance to get him to the Championships was good but he’s a tough horse.
“A lot of people were querying whether Terry could do it with him first up, but he knows this bloke back to front.”
Berry said he was always confident Art Cadeau could win today’s The Kosciuszko, especially after chatting with Robinson on Friday morning.
“I Spoke to Terry yesterday morning, and it was the first time I had spoken to him leading into a race with this horse where he said, ‘I couldn’t have him any better’,’ Berry said.
“I was pretty confident after that.”
Art Cadeau will have made many punters very happy too, after being well backed into $3.80 favourite to win the country-only feature.
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