Danielle Seib puts exclamation mark on big year with Highway win

Zac Lloyd drives the Danielle Seib-trained King of Spades to victory in Saturday’s Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Danielle Seib drew the right hand at Royal Randwick on Saturday, with the Goulburn trainer winning the 1400m Class Three Highway Handicap with the well-named King of Spades. 

Ridden by two-kilogram claiming apprentice Zac Lloyd, King of Spades ($7) got a lovely run just in behind the pace from gate 10 before the pair finished strongly, beating the Cameron Crockett duo of Super Extreme (Brenton Avdulla, $6.50) in second and Indicative (Kerrin McEvoy, $7.50) in third. 

Seib, who enjoyed multiple Highway Handicap wins with Assault’N’Bathory, was pleased to see King of Spades breakthrough for connections, with the four-year-old running second in three consecutive Highways during September and October. 

“He was running consistently last preparation, and he was freshened up for today’s first-up assignment,” Seib said. 

“His first-up form is good, and he was working really well at home, he’s a happy horse, and since we’ve had him, he’s continued to appreciate the quieter atmosphere at Goulburn, and it was just nice to see him win today.”

While he wasn’t the winner, Stablemate Blood River (Tyler Schiller, $8) was equally as impressive, with the four-year-old working hard from gate 14 to share the lead with I Like Big Putts before battling on gamely to finish fourth, beaten just 1.77 lengths. 

“If you reverse the barriers, you potentially reverse the result,” Seib said. 

“He did all the donkey work early and worked hard from the outside to cross them and he still hung on strongly and I believe his future is very bright.”

While neither horse is eligible for the upcoming 2023 Country Championships, Seib believes connections will have a lot of fun with the pair. 

“Both are really nice horses, and both are adaptable, and can either race well fresh or stretch out a bit further,” Seib said. 

“They both have good racing patterns and are good, consistent geldings, which is what you want.”

Seib’s Highway Handicap win caps off a terrific season and a rich vein of form for the Goulburn stable that has prepared 30 ½ winners throughout the past 16 months. 

Earlier this year, Seib won the Corowa Cup with Hemmerle, and she told NSW Country and Picnic Racing that ‘It is very rewarding and to have a team that is small, where you can place them and get good results, it is great.” 

Seib has continued that stellar form, training four winners at her last seven starters, which includes Smokeshow (Hannah Williams, $3.90) at Wagga on December 23, Namid (Hannah Williams, $3) at Corowa on December 28, and Amarantz (Hannah Williams, $1.28) at Canberra on December 30 

“It’s been a dream run. You go through fazes where you’ve got the right horses in your stable and we have a lot of progressive types and we went out and sourced a lot of young, well-bred horses,” Seib said. 

“Then it was about placing them right and keeping things simple and sending them where they can win. 

“Plus, Goulburn is a terrific location, and a great training base. We can travel to a lot of locations and find races where we think we can win.”

The Seib stable will look to resume where they left off in 2022 on New Year’s Day, with Southern Lad (Alysha Collett) racing in the Listed Canterbury Sprint, while Do This All Day (Hannah Williams) will run around as the top weight in Gundagai’s Adelong Cup.